The first step in the SPF model is to systematically gather and analyze local data related to the substance misuse and abuse problem. These data will help you do the following:
- Identify the nature and extent of the substance misuse and abuse problem in different groups within your community, including those defined by age, gender, race/ethnicity, or other demographic characteristics
- Identify the geographic areas where the problem is greatest
- Define one or more target populations (e.g., middle school youth, high school youth, young adults)
- Identify intervening variables (factors linked to substance misuse and abuse in your community)
- Determine your community’s perception of the problem
- Determine whether your community or organization is ready to address the problem and what additional resources may be needed
These data will also serve as a baseline for program monitoring and evaluation.