Community Norms Toolbox
The Substance Abuse Prevention Program has developed a survey tool to help prevention groups across the state collect data on community attitudes and perceptions regarding substance abuse. Data on adult attitudes and perceptions emerged as a significant gap in the Statewide Drug Assessment Report.
The Community Norms Toolbox will help fill this gap by enabling substance abuse prevention groups to assess readiness for alcohol, tobacco and other drug policies that can be implemented on the community level. The survey is called the "Community Norms Toolbox" and was developed by a task force of Regional Prevention Center Directors, Expert Panel members, environmental strategy specialists, and state Substance Abuse Prevention Program staff.
Community norms are commonly held beliefs or attitudes concerning the acceptability or specific behaviors for a specific community or community group. For example, in most communities it is unacceptable for anyone to use illicit drugs; however, it is acceptable for adults (21 and over) to drink alcohol in low risk quantities. Community norms are an important part of the substance abuse prevention picture because they can support or undermine our prevention strategies.
The Community Norms Toolbox is composed of a series of question banks that address a variety of categories such as "adult perception of youth use of tobacco" and "adult attitudes about availability of alcohol to youth." A survey manual which provides guidelines and tips for effective survey implementation is also available.
Prevention groups will be able to construct their own surveys by choosing questions from question banks that correspond to specific substance prevention issues that they are working on in their communities. As other community priorities surface, the question banks will be expanded. Question banks are currently under construction.