What Our Community Thinks About Addiction

May 27, 2016 | Kristen Goettsch, Director of Evaluation and Development Featured

This week’s data drop: 90.3%. 

Face It TOGETHER systematically tracks and measures community and social impact of its affiliates because it ensures that our activities are evidence-based and outcome-focused. Community awareness and attitudes toward addiction are key indicators of our work. Based on recent surveys, 90.3% of the people who responded felt that drug or alcohol addiction was common in their communities. 

Face It TOGETHER affiliates work to change everything about how their local community deals with addiction. A key focus area for community-based affiliates is removing barriers so dramatically more people will access care. They work to remove stigma in their local communities through education and awareness activities.  

In late 2015 and early 2016, Face It TOGETHER deployed community surveys in three communities we're active in: Face It TOGETHER Sioux FallsFace It TOGETHER Bemidji and Face It TOGETHER Bismarck-Mandan. This week, we released the full report from our follow up survey to a 2011 baseline conducted in Sioux Falls. And we're in the final stages of analysis of the surveys conducted in Bemidji, MN and Bismarck- Mandan, ND.  

For the next several blog posts, we will dig deeper into the results of our recent community surveys.  

The Face It TOGETHER Community Awareness & Attitudes Survey presents several items regarding addiction and asks participants to indicate their level of agreement from strongly agree to strongly disagree. For the most recent round of surveys, those that agreed that alcohol abuse or addiction and drug abuse or addiction is very common was high. Community members are aware of the prevalence of the disease.  

Beliefs about alcohol graphic
Beliefs about drug addiction graphic

The survey also asked people to indicate their level of agreement regarding who can be affected by the disease. Overwhelmingly, the majority believed that problems with or addiction to alcohol or drugs can affect anyone.  


Problems with drugs can affect anyone graphic
Problems with alcohol can affect anyone graphic

We're pleased to know that there is a high level of understanding regarding the prevalence of this disease in the communities where we're are working. We know that about 22 million Americans suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, yet only a small fraction gets well and stays well. The three primary focus areas for our affiliates are:  

  1. Removing barriers so dramatically more people will access care 
  2. Transforming the quality of addiction care so sufferers can get well and stay well. 
  3. Measuring outcomes so we know how people get well and can demonstrate value. 

In a future post, we will explore the communities’ impressions and understanding around the barriers to those seeking help. All of this information is useful to Face It TOGETHER as we work with these communities to identify and implement viable solutions, while demonstrating the outcomes of the work that we do.