Law enforcement and prevention professionals have an innate partnership in their ultimate goal of helping reduce substance abuse in their communities. Prevention aims to intervene early in the lives of youth attempting to reduce the likelihood of substance abuse. Identifying risk and protective factors and focusing on the resiliency and strengths of the youth and adult populations can have the most encompassing impact on communities. Analogously police departments work tirelessly to reduce the potential for further crime, in this case illegal actions and consequences related to substance abuse from drugs and alcohol.
“Substance abuse accounts for most of the criminal activity in cities and towns nationwide,” The US Department of Justice said.
Comprehensive programs and approaches often require involvement and collaboration from multiple sectors.
Pamela Hyde, JD, Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Survives Administration wrote about Law Enforcement and Behavioral Health Working Together. In her article she said traumatic incidents and family disruption have been linked to future problems including substance abuse.
“This means that first responders have the added responsibility to try and minimize the potential negative impact that may result when they must intervene,” Hyde said.
Collaboration is key in developing continued partnerships for community health and in minimizing the impact of these traumatic triggering instances on community members.
“It is extremely important to have a healthy, ongoing collaborative relationship with community partners in order to deal with issues facing your community,” Partnership for Drug Free Kids said.
Community Coalitions of Idaho Executive Director, Tammy Rubino has worked in prevention for nearly 20 years and has come to understand the importance of law enforcement and prevention working together.
“In my opinion, the most important reason for having coalitions partner with law enforcement is because we can accomplish so much more by collaborating with them. We have a shared vision in what we want for our communities, but our approaches and perspectives are very different. Coalitions look for how to make long-term improvements in their communities, while law enforcement has to respond to problems individually and quickly. By combining the two approaches, you can develop more effective strategies in order to affect community change,” Tammy said.
The various benefits that community partnerships can foster is countless, especially in dealing with efforts to reduce substance abuse. Adopting a partnership between prevention and law enforcement should be vital for continuously growing community health.
Learn how to expand this partnership in your communities at the CCI March training tilted
“Enforcement & Prevention: Working together for our communities”
Visit the CCI website for updates after the training