Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

North Coastal Prevention Coalition: Countering Pro-Marijuana Influences

The North Coastal Prevention Coalition seeks to reduce the harm of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs in the California cities of Carlsbad, Oceanside, and Vista (North Coastal San Diego County) through community action, education, support, and collaboration. Its program Countering Pro-Marijuana Influences implements a variety of strategies to affect environmental change to reduce marijuana use—particularly among young people. Specifically, the program works with policymakers to implement private and public polices restricting the sale of drug paraphernalia and pro-drug merchandise, ordinances to prevent the proliferation of marijuana dispensaries, and continued growth of an annual event to counter the “unofficial marijuana holiday” of April 20.

Countering Marijuana Event Banner

Current efforts to evaluate the impact of the campaign and associated environmental change strategies focus on documenting short-term outcomes, such as the adoption and implementation of policy changes, and tracking long-term outcomes through statewide student survey data. With funding from SAMHSA’s Service to Science Subcontract to Build Evaluation Capacity of Evidence-Based Interventions, the North Coastal Prevention Coalition will identify comparison communities, collect additional student survey data, and partner with California State University San Marcos to run additional detailed analyses. Additionally, program staff will collect qualitative data through focus groups and/or interviews with key stakeholders. Specific activities include:

  • Using data from the California Healthy Kids Survey—a biennial survey administered in school districts across the state—to identify several comparison sites
  • Incorporating Geographical Information Systems methods to understand the effects of spatial factors on program outcomes
  • Implementing a quasi-experimental design and interrupted time-series analysis to assess longitudinal patterns in marijuana usage and perceived risk rates among program-affected districts versus comparison districts
  • Applying Participant Action Research methods in conducting unstructured interviews of program leaders to better understand their experiences and inform focus group questions
  • Conducting focus groups with key community stakeholders regarding their perceptions of the effects of the program on the community
  • Packaging findings in multiple formats for different audiences, including researchers, government officials, community prevention coalitions, and others


Erica Leary
Program Manager
North Coastal Prevention Coalition/Vista Community Clinic
1000 Vale Terrace
Vista, California 92084
Phone: (760) 631-5000 x7150