Strengthen Efforts to Prevent Drug Use in Our Communities

By May 9, 2015 Recent News

The White House May 2015
Principle 4. Criminal Justice Agencies and Prevention Agencies Must Collaborate

Law enforcement agencies are critical partners in community-based prevention strategies and can help reduce youth involvement in drug-related criminal activity. Some communities have begun to employ effective collaboration among police, prosecutors, judges, probation officers, corrections officials, and their counterparts in the prevention field. For example, PACT360 (Police and Communities Together) is a community education program funded by DOJ and implemented in collaboration with the Partnership at In FY 2010, DOJ awarded two new PACT360 grants for a total of $1.2 million from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. An enforcement-led effort, PACT360 provides education to parents, youth, and community leaders about the risks and consequences of youth drug use. Many government-private partnerships have been formed through PACT360. To date, lead law enforcement agencies have been recruited in more than 30 states. (Action Item 1.4B)

In 2010, ONDCP awarded $800,000 to 12 HIDTAs to support participation in drug awareness and education activities. Currently, 20 of the 28 HIDTAs participate in prevention initiatives. Using evidence-based prevention practices, HIDTA members partner with community-based coalitions and organizations to better tailor prevention messages to youth, share time and personnel resources with local law enforcement agencies, and use juvenile justice programs to prevent and reduce gang and other criminal activity. (Action Item 1.4A)

Safe & Sound, Milwaukee, WI

In April 2010, the Milwaukee HIDTA received the Outstanding HIDTA Prevention Effort award for its Safe & Sound program. Safe & Sound is a partnership of law enforcement, prosecutors, youth-serving organizations, elected and civic leaders, businesses, city services, and clergy aimed at reducing drug use and crime and rebuilding neighborhoods. The project organizes residents and youth and connects them with these groups to identify and report criminal activity and prevent youth gang affiliation, crime, and substance abuse. Safe and Sound does so by utilizing interdependent strategies of positive youth development at after-school “Safe Places”, neighborhood organizing through its “Safe & Sound Community Partners” program, and tough law enforcement. It is a unique, collaborative approach to fighting crime, violence, illegal drug and alcohol sales, and other neighborhood problems. Safe & Sound’s collaborating partners empower youth and adults to work together, creating a better, safer community for all. After-school Safe Places for youth operate during the hours when youth are most apt to commit, or become victims of, crime. Engaging more than 20,000 young people every year, the Safe Places involve them in youth-led crime reduction and neighborhood improvement projects, drug and alcohol prevention activities, and gang resistance and violence prevention efforts. Programs offered include structured activities to help youth develop personal and social skills through interactive forms of learning. Safe & Sound Community Partners are community organizers, who conduct year-round door-to-door visits in high-crime neighborhoods to listen to and address the individual concerns of residents. These organizers recruit youth to attend Safe Places, and they work with youth leaders to implement community anti-crime initiatives. In conjunction with residents, Community Partners organize block watches, thereby building relationships and communication between residents, law enforcement and city services. Partners develop neighborhood-based initiatives, enhancing safety, reducing crime, positively affecting the community, and improving the overall quality of life for residents.