The Prevention Unit at the Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS) works to prevent and reduce substance use disorders and related issues by providing leadership and support to communities throughout Massachusetts.
Using both statewide and local data, BSAS guides communities through a data-informed process using both best-practices and evidence-based approaches to determine where efforts and resources will be most effective during a multi-year effort to address local substance use related issues.
Our goal is to build support around these prevention efforts so that they can be sustained through changes in local policy, practice, and systems. BSAS also seeks to enhance the prevention infrastructure of the State by increasing the number of communities across the Commonwealth working in partnership with BSAS to address these issues.
Each BSAS-funded prevention program focuses on one or more substance misuse issues as outlined by their grant. These programs are made up of a diverse group of community members and stakeholders, each led by a local municipality working with a local coalition and/or social service agency and in partnership with other neighboring cities and towns.
The goals and strategies of these programs include:
- Preventing substance use disorders, with a particular focus on the under-21 population.
- Using strategies aimed at preventing and reducing community problems related to alcohol and other drugs that have also shown an impact on rates of substance misuse.
- Sustaining prevention efforts through local policy, practice, and systems changes.
- Engaging diverse youth and community members, and incorporating meaningful youth and community involvement in prevention efforts focused on positive outcomes for youth and communities.
- Changing the overall context within which substance use disorders occur and the approach communities have taken to address the factors that contribute to these issues.
- Improving the monitoring and evaluation of BSAS-funded prevention efforts.