Using Social Indicators to Inform Community Drug and Alcohol Prevention Policy Academic Article uri icon


  • In recent years, the federal government has begun to require state agencies to allocate drug prevention resources according to the needs of local communities. The methods by which this is to be accomplished have not been described, and most published social indicator studies in the field of drug abuse research have used county-level data which are too insensitive to local needs to be of use in resource allocation decisions. The present study describes a needs assessment in drug abuse prevention in the state of New Jersey using municipal-level social indicator data. In addition, it examines the extent to which the resource allocation of one state prevention agency can be predicted by the municipal-level social indicators. Thirty-six social indicators pertaining to 508 municipalities were used in the study, and data were analyzed using principal component analysis and hierarchical regression analysis. Five factors were extracted from the principal component analysis, two of which clearly describe "high risk" municipalities and one of which clearly describes "low risk" municipalities. The regression analysis showed that these factors explained very little of the variance in the state agency's drug prevention spending. The study shows that social indicators can be used to distinguish between different levels of need for drug prevention services at a municipal level, and that these data can be used to inform decisions concerning resource allocation.

author list (cited authors)

  • Gorman, D. M., & Labouvie, E. W.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • December 2000