Changing course: supporting a shift to environmental strategies in a state prevention system

Parissa J. Ballard, Melinda Pankratz, Kimberly G. Wagoner, Jennifer Cornacchione Ross, Scott D. Rhodes, Sunday Azagba, Eunyoung Y. Song, Mark Wolfson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: This study examines how the North Carolina state prevention system responded to a policy shift from individual-level prevention strategies to environmental strategies from the perspective of the organizations implementing the policy shift. Methods: We use two data sources. First, we conducted interviews to collect qualitative data from key informants. Second, we used prevention provider agency expenditure data from the year the shift was announced and the following year. Results: The interviews allowed us to identify effective features of policy change implementation in complex systems, such as the need for clear communication and guidance about the policy changes. Our interview and expenditure analyses also underscore variation in the level of guidance and oversight provided by implementing agencies to prevention providers. Conclusions: Our analyses suggest that more active monitoring and oversight may have facilitated more consistent implementation of the policy shift toward greater use of environmental prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalSubstance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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