Developing a community response - Steps 3 & 4
Step 3. Develop a plan
Use the information collected in Step 2 to guide the development of a plan for action. This will require the group deciding:
- what will be done
- how it will be done
- who will do what
- when it will be done by.
The actions decided upon by the group should address the problems identified from the information collected. Actions should avoid punishing or further isolating users from their family or the community and should help users link with services and other supports in the community.
The actions should take into consideration the substances being used, the individual users, and the environment where the use is taking place and should include a combination of:
- education to increase the level of knowledge of families, community members, service providers, retailers, contractors and tourists
- engagement in alternative activities for young people. For example, recreation, school, employment and training and/or cultural activities
- outreach visits or night patrols targeting hotspots
- protocols to improve communication between local service providers
- replacing unleaded petrol with Low Aromatic Fuel (where applicable)
- community by-laws (where applicable).
Prioritise the list of actions into:
- short-term - actions that can be implemented simply and/or quickly
- medium-term - actions which can be implemented with some help or training
- long-term - actions which may take longer to implement.
Wherever possible, ensure that the community is consulted and involved with the implementation of the actions as community support is key to any effective response.
Step 4. Evaluation
Monitoring and evaluating the plan is critical to identify what has worked well and not so well. It will also highlight those actions that may have unintended negative consequences and need to be reviewed.
As VSU tends to be cyclical it is important to continue with the strategies even when VSU has reduced or ceased. Ongoing implementation of the actions can act as a preventative measure to ensure that the VSU does not return to previous levels.