small spf flowerStrategic Prevention Framework Step 1: Assessment

Assessment, the first step of the SPF, involves identifying local prevention needs based on data. Below are tools to support your work. For more assessment resources, visit our training and examples pages.




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Locating Data on Risk Factors for Opioid Overdose

Practitioners working on opioid overdose prevention efforts can use this tool to:

  • Learn more about behaviors they know or suspect are contributing to opioid overdose in their communities, in order to better target their prevention efforts.
  • Identify new sources of data to supplement those with which they are already familiar.
  • Identify proxy measures (that is, data alternatives) for factors of interest (if, for example, specific types of data are not available at the local level).
  • Identify potential prevention partners (for example, local hospitals and emergency medical services) who regularly collect data on a range of relevant factors.



Prioritizing Risk and Protective Factors

Prioritizing risk and protective factors is a crucial part of the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) planning process. Different criteria can be used to prioritize risk and protective factors. Communities often use two of these — importance and changeability — to decide which risk or protective factors to address. This document describes these two criteria in further detail.


Strategic Prevention Framework Step 1: Assessment

To conduct a comprehensive assessment of prevention needs, you need to gather data about the substance use and misuse problems and related behaviors; risk and protective factors for the priority problems; and capacity, including resources and readiness, for the prevention activities. This document defines problems and behaviors, recommends questions to guide your community assessment, and provides criteria to help you determine your community's priority substance use problem.


Strategic Prevention Framework: Guide to Assessment, Planning and Evaluation

This guide will provide you with a brief overview of the Strategic Prevention Framework and how this assessment might differ from those you may have done before. The guide will then lead you step by step through the activities required to assess local needs and capacities. If you follow these steps, the end result will be an assessment report that outlines substance consumption patterns and related consequences in your community, identifies some of the causal factors present, and assesses your community’s readiness and capacity to engage in evidence-based prevention activities. This report will serve as the foundation upon which you will build your strategic plan for strengthening capacity and implementing evidence-based prevention practices.



United States Census Bureau

Exploring Census Data is the new platform to access data and digital content from the U.S. Census Bureau. makes data available from one centralized place so that data users spend less time searching for data content. You may be familiar with the American Fact Finder site. This site will be taken offline March 31, 2020 and all data will be accessible from this new site.



Step 1:  Assessment, Fidelity Checklist

University of Alaska Anchorage, Institute of Social and Economic Research

This fidelity checklist  for the first step of the Strategic Prevention Framework provides a tool for measuring the coalitions fidelity to the process. The tool will help guide the prevention program, coalition, or community to achieve behavioral health outcomes in substance abuse prevention.The fidelity checklist provides clear parameters about how fidelity will be measured over time. This document can be used both as a self-evaluation tool, as well as a tool your program coordinator can use to guide training, technical assistance, and support.

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