IPRC, 25 Years: Much has changed and much has not
- Published on April 22, 2013
For 25 years the IPRC has been part of Indiana University and received support and assistance from the Division of Mental Health and Addiction of Indiana Family Social Services Administration.
The IPRC began its first fiscal year on October 1, 1987, as the Substance Abuse Prevention Resource Center. Its mission was to provide for the primary prevention system a clearinghouse for “information and technical assistance resources to Indiana communities by establishing a library/information/training center.” The proposal for its creation contains familiar terms: community needs assessment, analyze new data, disseminate, research, evaluation measures, data collection, consultation, regional capabilities and training. Then as now, problems of addiction impacted individuals, families, schools and communities. The initial handful of staff in year one grew to an equivalent of 11 FTE staff by year two.
The Center quickly changed its name to the Indiana Prevention Resource Center for Substance Abuse and referred to itself as the PRC. In the Center’s first end-of-year report, Dr. James Pershing, then Executive Director, named accomplishments of the Center’s first nine months: establishment of a loan library, grassroots publicity efforts, an open house (May 11, 1988), the first annual prevention conference, in-service trainings, computer capabilities, an electronic bulletin board network, and a periodical, the Prevention Network Newsline. The annual budget was $399,999. In its first year, out of a total of 562 total requests, exactly 1 came through “electronic mail,” the electronic bulletin board.
In June, 1988, the IPRC presented the First Annual Prevention Conference on Alcohol and Other Drugs at the Brown County Inn, Nashville, Indiana, made possible by a grant from the Indiana Department of Mental Health, Division of Addiction Services. The theme was “Prevention: Putting the Pieces Together.” Sessions addressed primary prevention, implementation of successful programs, programs for children of alcoholics, mobilizing communities for action, effecting public and social policy, assessment, federal trends, and program for high-risk populations. (In some ways, how little things have changed!)
Publications from the new Center, then part of the School of Education at Indiana University, began appearing in 1988, including “Indiana Prevention Programs,” a directory of substance abuse prevention programs in Indiana by region. Effective multicultural interactions, community organization techniques, and workforce development were addressed in a 1990 publication by the Center, “Identifying and Mobilizing Community Natural Helper Networks for Substance Abuse Prevention: Helping Kids through Helpers.”
In 1990 the Center was transferred to the Department of Applied Health Science of the IU School of Health Physical Education and Recreation, and William J. Bailey assumed the position of Executive Director. (To read more about “Bill” Bailey, see http://www.drugs.indiana.edu/drug-info/featured-articles/181-remembering-william-qbillq-j-bailey-1947-2005.)
The Center grew. Since 1991 to the present, the Center has conducted an annual survey of alcohol and other drug use among Indiana’s 6th 12th graders; and since 2009 has conducted a similar survey of Indiana College Students. Over the years, specialists in grant writing and consultation, evaluation, community prevention, survey administration, statistics, have joined the IPRC staff. Memorable projects during the past twenty-five years include Project Break Away (1994), the Indiana Household Telephone Survey of Adult Drug Use (1996), Alcohol and Other Drug Use by Indiana College Students (1997), Indicators of Prevention Needs from Existing Data Sources (1997), annual SYNAR reports, annual Afternoons R.O.C.K. in Indiana evaluations reports, and Social Marketing Data for Prevention Planning in Indiana (2001). In Since 2000, the IPRC has provided logistical and administrative support and program evaluation services for the Tobacco Retail Inspection Program (TRIP), which aims to reduce the sale of tobacco products to minors in Indiana. In January 2005 problem gambling was added to the IPRC’s mission and the IPGAP began providing technical assistance for prevention, treatment and recovery. Later the compliance check strategy was extended to alcohol and since 2000 the Survey for Alcohol Compliance has contracted with the IPRC to recruit and hire youth to assist with inspections.
In 1997, the Indiana Family Social Services Administration, Division of Mental Health and Addiction began the afterschool prevention initiative known as Afternoons R.O.C.K. in Indiana. The afterschool initiative developed from the need for supervised activities for youth between 3pm to 6pm, Afternoons R.O.C.K. (Recreation, Object lessons, Culture and values, and Knowledge) in Indiana became a prevention project targeting Indiana youth between 10 and 14 years of age. The Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) contracted with the Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC) at Indiana University to provide statewide management of Afternoons R.O.C.K. in Indiana. The IPRC offered technical assistance, contract compliance, and fiscal oversight for local program providers, parents, and DMHA staff associated with the program.
The Center entered the age of the internet in the mid 1990’s, launching its first web site in 1994, powered by Linux. For many years the IPRC’s internet drug information portal vied with Join Together for second place behind SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse website for number of hits. In the early 2000’s the IPRC introduced many new online services, including posting data from the Indiana Youth Survey, Indiana College Survey, Afternoons Rock in Indiana program, GIS in Prevention County Profiles, Grants information, drug information Factlines, and the Hispanic/Latino portal. Additions since 2010 include feature articles on the IPRC homepage, many online library searchable databases, and links to obtain custom services for evaluation, training, and more.
On September 1, 2005, Dr. Ruth Gassman became Executive Director of the IPRC, marking the beginning of another period of growth and expansion for the IPRC. The Center broadened its mission beyond primary prevention and problem gambling, to embrace intervention, treatment, recovery and maintenance. The Center also expanded its custom services to include, for example, evaluation, grant-writing, training, and assessment services. Research activities continue and transdisciplinary research is encouraged.
Just since 1999, the IPRC has contributed to securing for the state of Indiana: the SIG 1 Indiana Grassroots Prevention Coalition-Initiative (1999-2004), SIG 2 Strategic Prevention Framework (2006-2011), Access to Recovery I (2007-2010), Access to Recovery II (2010-2014), SPF State Prevention Enhancement (2012), Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT, 2012-2016), and the Partnerships Grant (2012), totaling over $56 million dollars.
As on the first day the IPRC opened its doors to the public, the Center’s mission continues to include primary prevention and the provision of information and technical assistance. Its mission now extends to strengthening a behavioral health system that promotes prevention, treatment, and recovery. The IPRC’s vision is to promote and sustain healthy environments and behaviors across the lifespan. Over these 25 years much has changed and much has not. While our strategies have evolved and our tools and resources have improved, our hearts remain in the same place.