the States: What we Learned
existing prevention networks
We’ve learned that inhalant task forces mobilized faster where
there is an existing prevention network or organizational infrastructure
to overlay. For example, Connecticut’s Regional Action Councils
network became the foundation of their Inhalant Task Force. In Vermont,
the inhalant initiative is incorporated into their geographically
dispersed Prevention Consultant network.
sustain a task force it’s important that relationships
among the members be strong. Frequent communication, frequent
coordination of work among members, frequent contact in general
so that all of them come to know what any of them know. At
the same time, it’s very important that there be diversity
among task force members such that each of those members is
connected to a different outside network, which is both important
as a source of different information to come to the task force
and as channels for disseminating the task force’s work
Kreiner, Project Evaluator, Brandeis University
We also learned that task forces work best when they expand beyond
traditional players in the prevention arena to include poison control,
fire safety and other groups who bring prevention messages to youth
or their parents. Other groups to consider are pediatricians, youth
residential treatment and foster care communities, chambers of commerce,
retail associations, media, and toxicologists.
We were surprised by the level of denial and ignorance among adults,
and found that when people actually learned about the dangers of
inhalants, they wanted to do something to stop it.
We also learned that time is saved when people who know the organizational
infrastructure, politics, and the influential players in their state
are coordinating the effort.