July 8, 2020

Coalition to Coalition: Creative Activities and Strategies During COVID-19

CADCA coalitions across the United States continue to address challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting young people, parents, and communities at a time of great stress and uncertainty. Our members are telling us about some of the new and innovative ways they are adapting to preventive public health measures like social distancing. We’ve chosen to share some of these strategies to inspire and encourage coalitions across the country to continuously evolve and meet these unexpected challenges while keeping prevention at the forefront of their efforts.


Prevention Activities

Data collection:

  • Dr. Grenae Dudley (Detroit, MI) shared that the Love Detroit Prevention Coalition completed a virtual environmental scan using Google Maps to determine an updated count of marijuana dispensaries in their targeted area.
  • Amanda Conn Starner (Cincinnati, OH) shared that the Prevention FIRST! Coalition conducted virtual youth focus groups.
  • Marsha Middleton (Washington, DC) told us that the Ward 5 Drug Free Coalition had to change their method for collecting data. People were not responding to their survey link, so she converted it to a PDF and called respondents by phone and promised a gift card for completion. She tells us she was very successful in getting all surveys completed, and while it did require more time, it was worth it.


Community Resource Guides


Media Campaigns/ Videos and PSAs

  • Jordan Esser (Illinois) shared that the DuPage County Prevention Leadership Team (PLT) recorded 10-minute prevention videos with subject matter experts to post online (to replace in person events and presentations).
  • Amanda Conn Starner (Cincinnati, OH) said that some of the members of the Prevention FIRST! Coalition are using parent empowerment videos on social media. They have (with partners) developed at least 20 videos, each between 1-2 minutes, addressing a variety of topics.
  • Mona Hijazi (Dearborn, MI) said the ASAP Community Coalition has increased their webinars and social media posts and hosted a Facebook Live radio show.
  • Julie Furne (Iowa) told us they are working on a newspaper series about opioids/non opioids options.
  • Michael Capko (New Jersey) shared that the DART Prevention Coalition has developed various COVID-19 behavioral health related social media campaigns.
  • Dr. Grenae Dudley (Detroit, MI) shared that the Love Detroit Prevention Coalition launched a social media campaign to drive youth and parents to their information page about the risks of smoking in increasing the severity of COVID-19 symptoms – the social media campaign has resulted in over 4,600 page hits since the launch!
  • Lesley Gabel (New Jersey) shared that the Hunterdon County Safe Communities Coalition created a PSA with law enforcement and dispatchers on safe storage and how to dispose of medications at home.
  • Kameo Chasse (New Hampshire) shared on the CADCA community that the Nashua Prevention Coalition is offering a Virtual Video Project. Any Nashua family can submit a 30 second to one-minute video showing what they are doing to stay positive and resilient. The videos are shared to social media, and just for submitting participants receive a $25 gift card to Nashua, a locally owned small restaurant. Check out some of the videos on the Nashua Prevention Coalition Facebook page.
  • Gail Taylor (Virginia) said that the Virginia Prevention Works! coalition is providing Prevention resources for parents via the school lunch delivery programs.
  • Amanda Conn Starner (Cincinnati, OH) shared that the Prevention FIRST! Coalition is providing prevention booklets with food distribution to schools.
  • Jordan Esser (Illinois) told us that the DuPage County Prevention Leadership Team (PLT) conducted their annual sticker shock event by asking youth members to call store managers and explain the goal of the project and offer to drop off sticker shock materials to the stores. If stores posted pictures of the materials, they will publicly recognize them as a “business who cares” on social media.
  • CADCA’s Coalition Development team has shared that many of the coalitions they connect with continue to publish newsletters and other educational materials on social media and in email blasts.



Medication Disposal

  • Kasey Strey (Texas) shared that some Texas coalitions are working with their local health officials to host a drive-through to hand out free personal supplies and single use medication disposal systems, along with education materials.
  • Kasey Strey (Texas) also shared that due to school closures, coalitions are working with local school districts and education service centers to give school nurses an XL Deterra Pouch to dispose of medications that were left behind.



Outreach/support to parents


  • LeAnn Povey (Utah) shared that the Bonneville Communities That Care Coalition is helping parents connect with their children with online conversation starters. They sent out the following message:  “We get it. You’re spending a lot more time indoors with your kids these days. Even with that extra time, it can be hard to bond with your kids and get to know them better. Is there an easier way to bond with your children than playing games? We think not 🙂 So follow the link to play Chit Chat with your children from your smartphones or computer! So cool – and so free!!”



Webinar Topics

  • Merilee Fowler (Arizona) shared that Community Counts hosted webinars on a number of topics, including Mental Wellness and Emotional Intelligence, How to Talk to your Kids about Drugs and Alcohol and Stressed Parents, Parenting Stressed Children During COVID-19.
  • Abby Thompson shared on the CADCA Community that the DART Prevention Coalition hosted a webinar about the Pair of ACEs concept — how Adverse Childhood Experiences occurring in Adverse Community Environments — impacts youth. The resources they used come from the Building Community Resilience Collaborative at the GW School of Public Health.


Coalition meeting tools:

  • CADCA’s Coalition Development team says that coalitions are increasingly utilizing online platforms such as Zoom, Teams, WebEx, Skype, and GoToMeetings to conduct their daily communications with coalition staff and members.
  • Merilee Fowler (Arizona) tells us that Community Counts is using GoToMeetings for various committee meetings.
  • Zoom:
    • Jordan Esser (Illinois) is using Zoom for monthly coalition meetings and weekly youth coalition meetings.
    • Michael Capko (New Jersey) shared that they’ve moved all meetings to Zoom and found increased attendance and members saying it’s easier to participate this way than in-person meetings. They’ll be continuing with the Zoom call-in option even after they resume in-person meetings.



  • Merilee Fowler (Arizona) shared that Community Counts conducted a review of allocated state and federal prevention grants and developed recommendations to share with the Arizona Governor’s Commission on Substance Abuse.
  • Merilee Fowler (Arizona) also shared that Community Counts developed a proposal from Substance Abuse Coalition Leaders of Arizona (SACLAz) to receive State Opioid Response grant funding.
  • Jamie Ross (Las Vegas, NV) told us that the PACT Coalition have re-allocated their funding to provide unique primary prevention opportunities specific to COVID-19.


Community Support Activities Beyond Prevention

  • Merilee Fowler (Arizona) shared that Community Counts is conducting donation drives for sober living homes, domestic violence shelters and family advocacy centers with police departments.
  • Alexa Lee (Florida) told us that Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition  leveraged their partnerships with local police to host online training for juvenile justice students so they could make their volunteer hours and learn along the way.
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