Multi-component Strategies

Multicomponent programs involve implementing more than one strategy simultaneously or in tandem. These varying components work together simultaneously to address various factors that prevent NMUPD. In general, in order to be successful, multicomponent programs:

  • Incorporate multiple levels of influence. A widespread approach targeting multiple risk and protective factors across multiple levels of influence may achieve the greatest impact. For example, the Harmful Legal Product Prevention Project incorporates intervention at the family level, the school setting, and the broader community; and when strategies are implemented together, research demonstrates increased community readiness1, increased parental locking up of prescription drugs2, and decreased harmful legal product use for youth.3 Similarly, Project Lazarus intervenes with the general community to change community norms, and with prescribers to change prescribing practices and when activities occur together, outcomes have been linked to decreases in overdose death rates.4
  • Require successful collaboration. They include engagement of stakeholders from different community sectors (e.g., public health, education, business, law enforcement) to design, raise awareness of, and/or implement program activities. All multi-component programs listed involve formal or informal collaborative arrangements among groups or organizations where everyone is working together toward a common goal. For example, Drug-Free Community Coalitions require formal collaboration and have demonstrated success in reducing substance use.5
  • Are strategic and data-driven. The programs are grounded in understanding local assessment data and community readiness for identifying priorities and selecting relevant strategies. They also utilize current prevention science to guide practice. For example, Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER) uses collaboration with the local land-grant universities to leverage expertise on prevention science and Project Lazarus utilizes assessment data to target areas of high risk.

Multi-Component strategies, summarized here, include the following:

1 Ogilvie, K. A., Moore, R. S., Ogilvie, D. C., Johnson, K. W., Collins, D. A., & Shamblen, S. R. (2008). Changing community readiness to prevent the abuse of inhalants and other harmful legal products in Alaska. Journal of Community Health, 33(4), 248–258.

2 Collins, D. A., Johnson, K. W., & Shamblen, S. R. (2012). Examining a home environmental strategy to reduce availability of legal products that can be misused by youth. Substance Use & Misuse, 47(12). doi:10.3109/10826084.2012.716481. Retrieved from

3 Johnson, K. W., Shamblen, S. R., Ogilvie, K. A., Collins, D., & Saylor, B. (2009). Preventing youths’ use of inhalants and other harmful legal products in frontier Alaskan communities: A randomized trial. Prevention Science, 10(4), 298–312. Retrieved from

4 Albert, S., Brason II, F. W., Sanford, C. K., Dasgupta, N., Graham, J., & Lovette, B. (2011). Project Lazarus: Community-based overdose prevention in rural North Carolina. Pain Medicine, 12, S77–S85. Retrieved from

5 Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2014). Drug-Free Communities Support Program: 2013 National Evaluation Report.

Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2015). Drug-Free Communities Support Program: 2014 National Evaluation Report.