Published Spring 2019, Version 1.0
(Download a .pdf of this article at the bottom of the webpage)
Collaboration across federal, state, and local agencies is key in the world of prevention. It is important to note that not every agency, provider, lawmaker, and collaterals have the knowledge of effective strategies and methods to address the issue presented, such as substance use prevention. However, there has been an increase in awareness and research related to the concept and strategy of cross-sector collaboration.
National Prevention Strategy
“Working together to improve the health and quality of life for individuals, families, and communities by moving the nation from a focus on sickness and disease to one based on prevention and wellness” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011).
What is Cross-Sector Collaboration?
Spezza and Borbely (2014) described cross-sector collaboration as individuals from diverse sectors that work together to develop strategies to solve “specific, complex problems”. Specifically, the goal of cross-sector collaboration is typically one that achieves a large-scale impact with complex social issues presented through collaboration of a diverse population of stakeholders. It is important to note that cross-sector collaborative efforts involve a common agenda, continuous communication, shared measurement, mutually reinforcing activities and primary support organizations (Spezza & Borbely, 2014). Examples of isolated strategies versus cross-sector collaborative strategies can be found in Table 1.
Table 1: Isolated and Collective Strategies
Table 1. Retrieved from http://www.cars-rp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/PT09.10.14.pdf
Why is Cross-Sector Collaboration Important?
A prevention method for substance use involves coalitions being created in communities that collaboratively work to change their risk and protective factors within their community. Additionally, these coalitions aim to achieve reductions of substance use prevalence at the community-level. In order to achieve this community goal, the coalition that is made up of individuals across sectors (e.g., police, legislators, family members, health, educators), select effective interventions that implement them with fidelity and consistency across their members of their communities (U.S. Health and Human Services, 2016).
Furthermore, cross-sector collaboration is one of the key principles that guide the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF). Specifically, the cross-sector collaboration-related principles are highlighted by SAMHSA (2017) below:
- Collaborative systems of prevention services are more effective than isolated prevention efforts;
- Importance of sharing of information, tools, and strategies across systems are beneficial;
- And substance use should be addressed in a comprehensive method.
Evidence-based research studies have been conducted and include findings that cross-sector collaboration assisted in the following:
· preventing prescription drug overdose (SAMHSA, 2015);
· playing a key role regarding prescriber alert success (SAMHSA, 2017);
· and preventing prescription drug misuse and overdose (SAMHSA, 2017).
Cross-sector collaboration plays a key role in prevention at a national, state, local, and individual level. The implementation of this type of collaborative approach will continue the success of reducing substance use and promote healthy communities.
As a statewide agency, The North Carolina Training and Technical Assistance (NCTTA) Center provides workforce development, training, and technical assistance opportunities to substance abuse prevention stakeholders. Funding for the NCTTA is provided by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services with funding from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. To learn more visit ncpreventiontta.org
Spezza, C., & Borberly, C. (2014). Cross-sector collaboration. Retrieved from http://www.cars-rp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/PT09.10.14.pdf
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2015). Cross-sector collaboration helps Michigan prevent prescription drug overdose. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/capt/tools-learning-resources/collaboration-helps-prevent-drug-overdose
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2017). Cross-sector key to prescriber alert success. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/capt/tools-learning-resources/cross-sector-key-prescriber-alert-success
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2017). Collaborating to prevent rx drug misuse and overdose: A state level perspective. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/capt/sites/default/files/resources/collaborating-to-prevent-rx-drug-misuse-overdose-webinar-transcript.pdf
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Surgeon General’s 2016 Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. Retrieved from https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/surgeon-generals-report.pdf.