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The SPF Process

"The SPF Process" by Center on the Family. All rights reserved.

The SPF Process

Let's make a difference in our state, county or community! You probably have some ideas about how to do that... that may be why you are on this site. 

The Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) provides a process to follow that will increase your chances of success in being more effective and making an impact to help prevent substance use and its consequences.

How can we tell if our prevention programs are addressing the ‘right’ issues?

How can we tell if our goals are being met?

The Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) is a five-step planning process that gives communities the needed tools to help prevention providers utilize a data-driven planning process to guide prevention decisions in selecting appropriate evidence-based strategies with the participation of diverse community partners to address the complex social issue of substance abuse. The SPF is a national public health initiative sponsored by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA). Its goal is to prevent substance abuse and its consequences. SPF has evolved from what we have learned from previous initiatives in the prevention field. It focuses on the risk and protective factors of prevention, selection of evidence-based interventions, and measuring outcomes. It relies on using data-driven planning to allocate resources, and build prevention capacity and infrastructure.

The SPF is an ongoing cyclical change process that consists of five steps—assessment, capacity, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

  • Assessment refers to a process by which we gather information to better understand a problem and the needs in a community related to it. It also refers to finding out about the resources and capacity to address these problems and needs.
  • Capacity refers to the importance of recognizing the existing capacity in a community as well as building capacity in essential ways. Capacity is defined as resources (fiscal, human, and organizational) to be applied to substance abuse prevention. Capacity also refers to readiness—the level of acceptance and support of a community to direct resources to address a specific problem, such as substance use or underage drinking.
  • Planning in SPF involves a review of the available assessment data about the problem and consequences, to consider what is known about the risk factors and the protective factors and what can be changed and would make an impact. An optimal planning process would then use all this information in a priority setting process, to review programs with evidence of effectiveness, and consider how a program will address a risk or protective factor and for what target audiences.
  • Implementation may involve possible adaptation of a program for local culture(s) and circumstances.  Fidelity to what made an evidence-based program effective is important when carrying out a program.
  • Evaluation llooks at whether our prevention programs are actually creating the change that we are hoping to make. What outcomes are achieved? Evaluation also provides information on how our programs can be improved

 Two core components—cultural competency and sustainability—are integrated within each step of the SPF. In other words, the SPF process intends to lead to the creation of prevention strategies that are effective, culturally relevant, and sustainable in communities after grant funding has ended.

  • Cultural competency is the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures, helps to ensure the needs of all community members are addressed.
  • Sustainability of prevention outcomes can be achieved by building stakeholder support for the program, showing and sharing results, and obtaining steady funding.  The ultimate goal is to sustain prevention outcomes, and programs that produce positive outcomes.

Some distinctive focus areas of this SPF process include:

  • Outcome-based prevention: It is important to assess whether our prevention programs are actually creating the desired changes.
  • Population-level change: Rather than only examining the changes instigated by individual programs, this framework also examines whether progress is being made in overall community levels of substance abuse prevention outcomes.
  • Data-driven decision-making: Communities using the SPF model use data to understand the extent and characteristics of substance abuse problems in their community, to assess the tools and resources available to address those problems, to choose prevention programs, and to evaluate the success of those programs.
  • Cultural relevance: Prevention efforts should be relevant and meaningful within the cultural context of the community.
  • Collaboration: Community-level change requires intensive collaboration across different organizations, agencies, and individuals throughout the community. As prevention priorities change over time, it is important to know that partnerships across sectors will also evolve. Various key community members play an important role throughout the prevention process.


Orwin, R., Edwards, J., and Flewelling, R. (2014). Effects of the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentives Grant (SPF SIG) on State Prevention Infrastructure in 26 States. Journal of Primary Prevention, 35, 163-180.
SAMHSA. (2015, September 25). Applying the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF). Retrieved from

April 2020

Apr 02 Thu
ADAD Training: Relapse Prevention
The purpose of this course is to provide relapse prevention tools for substance abuse counselors and mental health providers. Participants will identify potential risk factors, gain a basic understanding of developing relapse prevention plans, and evaluate effectiveness of relapse prevention strategies.

Kakuhihewa State Building ADAD Building, Room 111 A/B 601 Kamokila Blvd Kapolei, HI 96707

Apr 03 Fri
ADAD Training: Self-Care Practices for Mental Health Professional
The importance of self-care for professionals entails continuously "looking after your own mental health and wellbeing so that you can more effectively support the young people you work with". Participants will be able to discuss the importance of self-care and impact - both positive and negative. Participants will also learn new skills to decrease burnout and stress-related illness, become more effective in the workplace. Also, apply these skills to everyday practice.

Kakuhihewa State Building ADAD Building - Room 111 A/B Kapolei, HI 96707

Apr 09 Thu
ADAD Training: Group Therapy

Participants will be able to: 1. Have a strong understating of the different types of groups available for treatment and post-treatment settings. 2. Confidently understand the levels of care and be familiar with the assessment criteria.  3 Identify group dynamics and facilitate group discussions in a creative way that helps all members feel included and validated.


Hawaii State Laboratory 2725 Waimano Home Rd. Pearl City, HI 96782

Apr 13 Mon
ADAD Training: HIV, Hepatitis, & STIs 101

Upon attending this training, participants will be able to:
1. Describe the transmission routes and prevention methods for viral hepatitis, HIV, and STDs.
2. List components of an effective risk assessment for sexually transmitted and other communicable disease.
3 Demonstrate risk reduction counseling techniques for people living with and at-risk for viral hepatitis, HIV, and STDs. 


Kakuhihewa State BuildingADAD Building, Room 111 A/B 601 Kamokila Blvd. Kapolei, HI 96707