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Substance abuse prevention

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Substance abuse prevention

Substance Abuse Prevention, also known as drug abuse prevention, is a process that attempts to prevent the onset of substance use or limit the development of problems associated with using psychoactive substances. Prevention efforts may focus on the individual or their surroundings. A concept known as "environmental prevention" focuses on changing community conditions or policies so that the availability of substances is reduced as well as the demand.[1]

Substance abuse prevention efforts typically focus on minors – children and teens. Substances typically targeted by preventive efforts include alcohol (including binge drinking, drunkenness, and driving under the influence), tobacco (including cigarettes and various forms of smokeless tobacco), marijuana, inhalants (volatile solvents including among other things glue, gasoline, aerosols, ether, fumes from correction fluid and marking pens), cocaine, methamphetamine, steroids, club drugs (such as MDMA), and opioids.

Rational scale to asses the harm of drugs
Drugs use levels in the U.S.


  • Sign and Symptoms 1
  • Protective and Risk Factors 2
  • Plans on preventing substance abuse 3
    • Family based prevention programs 3.1
    • School-based prevention programs 3.2
    • Universal School Programs 3.3
    • Community preventing programs 3.4
  • National recognition of substance abuse prevention 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Sign and Symptoms

[3] Mood Swings, Agression or Emotionless Behavior' Drug abusers usually abuse the drugs to bring a positive mood in behavior ( what they believe to be positive) . The abuser quickly uses the drugs to build up a tolerance, but when that tolerance begins to fail, they now have withdrawal symptoms. When they begin to use more drugs to build up a higher tolerance their moods will change again. The emotions of the abuser is a high and low. One day they might be happy and excited and then the next day they can be aggressive and angry.

Lateness Many abusers will start to arrive late to work or school and have no real excuse. Those who are starting out and don't want the public to know will, also start calling in sick from work and school. Some may also leave school and work early because they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms and are in dire need to use their drugs.

Decline in personal hygiene Many abusers begin to show a lack of interest in their hygiene. Some will even go days without taking a shower or changing their clothes.

Lack of Motivation If a person has always been motivated to achieve personal goals in their life, and then suddenly one day they lose interest that person may be abusing drugs.

Borrowing of Money' Abusing drugs can be very expensive task to keep up with, so if someone is having a drug problem, they may suddenly start borrowing money from you. Even if they borrow money from you, the abusers will never have an intention of paying the money back.

Protective and Risk Factors

Research has shown that there are various possible factors that could influence and increase the probability of drug use among youth. Environmental and internal are two main factors that contribute to the likelihood of substance abuse. Environmental factors in the individual's adolescence include: child abuse, exposure to drugs, lack of supervision, media influence, and peer pressure. Drug activity in an individual's community may normalize the usage of drugs.[4] Similarly, if an individual is placed through treatment and then placed back into the same environment that they left, there is a great chance that person will relapse to their previous behavior. Internal factors that are within the child or personality-based are self-esteem, poor social skills, stress, attitudes about drugs, mental disorder and many others.[5] A few more factors that contribute to teen drug abuse are lack of parent to child communication, unsupervised accessibility of alcohol at home, having too much freedom and being left alone for long periods of time.[6]

Key risk periods for drug abuse occur during major transitions in a child's life. Some of these transitional periods that could increase the possibility of youth using drugs are puberty, moving, divorce, leaving the security of the home and entering school. School transitions such as those from elementary to middle school or middle school to high school can be times that children and teenagers make new friends and are more susceptible to fall into environments where there are drugs available. One recent study examined that by the time adolescents are seniors in high school, "almost 70 percent will have tried alcohol, half will have taken an illegal drug, nearly 40 percent will have smoked a cigarette, and more than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose.” [7] Binge drinking has also, been shown to increase once an individual leaves the home to attend college or live on their own.[8]

Most youth do not progress towards abusing other drugs after experimentation. Research has shown, when drug use begins at an early age, there is a greater possibility for addiction to occur. [9]Three exacerbating factors that can influence drug use to become drug abuse are social approval, lack of perceived risks, and availability of drugs in the community. Most young adults have a false perception that they may be invincible. These individuals believe changes won't be made until an extreme event happens i.e. a friend overdoses, a car accident or even death. Even then its not likely that they will see the correlation between use and trauma.

Protective factors are important to consider in the prevention of substance abuse among youth and adolescents. A protective factor refers to anything that prevents or reduces

  • Hot Topic: Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention - Service-learning-related substance abuse prevention information at Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Official Website
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: "NIDA for Teens".

External links

  1. ^ "Drug Prevention". 
  2. ^ "Substance Abuse Prevention". 
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Futures Of Palm Beach. (2014). Contributing Factors of Drug Abuse. Retrieved from
  5. ^ "What are risk factors and protective factors? | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)". Retrieved 2013-12-10. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Johnston, L.D.; O’Malley, P.M.; Bachman, J.G.; and Schulenberg, J.E. Monitoring the Future National Results on Adolescent Drug Use: Overview of Key Findings, 2013. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2013.
  8. ^ "Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents". 
  9. ^ Lynskey MT, Heath AC, Bucholz KK, Slutske WS, Madden PAF, Nelson EC, Statham DJ, Martin NG. Escalation of drug use in early-onset cannabis users vs co-twin controls. JAMA 289:427-33, 2003.
  10. ^ National Institute on Drug Abuse (2003). Preventing Drug Abuse Among Children and Adolescents: A Research Based Guide for Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders [Second Edition]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 27 April 2010. 
  11. ^ Leukefeld, Carl G.; Gullotta, Thomas P.; Staton-Tindall, Michele (2009). Adolescent Substance Abuse. N.Y. ,U.S.A: Springer Science+Business Media. p. 155.  
  12. ^ National Institute of Drug Abuse. "Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents". Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  13. ^ Smit, Verdurmen, Monshouwer, Smil, Evelien, Jacqueline, Karin, Filip (2008). "Family interventions and their effect on adolescent alcohol use in general populations; a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials". Drug and Alcohol dependence 97: 195–206.  
  14. ^ O'Connell, M.E., Boat, T., Warner, K.E. (2009). Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. Committee on the Prevention of Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse Among Children, Youth and Young Adults: Research Advances and Promising Interventions. Institute of Medicine; National Research Council. Retrieved 2 February 2010. 
  15. ^ Hecht, Miller-Day, Michael L., Michelle (2007). "The Drug Resistance Strategies project as Translational Research". Journal of Applied Communication research 35: 343-349.  
  16. ^ National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). "Preventing Drug Use Among Children and Adolescents (In Brief)". National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  17. ^ O'Connell, M.E., Boat, T., Warner, K.E. (2009). Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. Committee on the Prevention of Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse Among Children, Youth and Young Adults: Research Advances and Promising Interventions. Institute of Medicine; National Research Council. p. 200. Retrieved 2 February 2010. 
  18. ^ "Project ALERT". 
  19. ^ "Project ALERT". 
  20. ^ O'Connell, M.E., Boat, T., Warner, K.E. (2009). Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. Committee on the Prevention of Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse Among Children, Youth and Young Adults: Research Advances and Promising Interventions. Institute of Medicine; National Research Council. p. 221. Retrieved 2 February 2010. 
  21. ^ "How can the community develop a plan for research-based prevention?". 
  22. ^ National Institute of Drug Abuse. "Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents". Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  23. ^ "October 2014 is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month". 
  24. ^ U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (2010). "Focus On Prevention" (HHS Publication No. (SMA) 10–4120 Revision 2010). p. 1. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 


See also

Millions of Americans currently participate in Red Ribbon Week activities, according to the State agencies, and communities, Red Ribbon Week has become more than a call to action. It has grown to be a unifying symbol of family and community dedication to preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs among youth.[24]

In 2011 President Obama issued October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. It pays tribute to all people working hard to prevent abuse in communities and working hard to make a safer drug-free country. [23]

National recognition of substance abuse prevention

[22] Prevention programs work at the community level with civic, religious,

  1. Identify the drug and those who are involved. The community should assess the risk level and the seriousness of the problem
  2. Build with other resources within the community.
  3. Develop short-term goals that the individual can achieve.
  4. Project long-term goals so that resources can be available in the future for them.[21]

Community members can help prevent substance abuse within their neighborhood. There are four steps that can be done to help with drug abuse:

Community preventing programs

Community programs outside of school settings that aim to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use have insufficient evidence that would show their effectiveness. Many of the community programs for those under age 25 are only linked to one randomized controlled trials which in most cases is not enough to conclude that they are effective. Focus of most community-based programs is on changing community policies and norms such as stricter policies on underage access to and consumption of alcohol. [20]

Project ALERT is a middle school based prevention program for 7th and 8th graders. The program is used to prevent adolescent non users from experimenting with drugs. It also helps to prevent adolescent experimenters from becoming regular drug users.[18] The lesson includes educational handouts, lesson plans, phone support, downloadable resources, and posters that were designed to motivate seventh and eighth grade students to not use alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana. This program's goal is to give students motivation to resist engaging in drug use by giving them assertiveness tools. Two evaluations of Project ALERT, first in the 1980s and then in 2003, showed that there were significantly positive. [19]

Life Skills Training (LST) was developed by Gilbert J. Botvin in 1996 and revised in 2000, and again in 2013. LST is significant in giving adolescents with skills and information that are needed to resist social influences to substances, including alcohol, cigarettes, and other illicit drugs.The goal of this program is to increase personal and social competence, confidence and self-efficacy to reduce motivations to use drugs and be involved in harmful social environments. LST was structured to provide adolescents knowledge for fifteen 45-minute class periods during school for the first year. Ten booster sessions are given in the second year and then five booster class periods in the third year. The original outcome data was taken from a controlled trial of mostly white seventh grade students from various schools. A significant reduction in drug and polydrug use was found within this population with long-term effects even after three years. LST has been modified to be beneficial for minority students as well.[17]

Caring School Community Program is focused on elementary school children. The research according to this program demonstrates that community is important to reduce "drug use, violence, and mental health problems." The sense of community also has a positive impact on success in school. Project Star aims to reach middle school students. It is a two year extensive program and directed by trained teachers in classrooms.This is a very extensive program. It blends school, family and wider range of society. It has different aspects. One aspect is to reach to general society to make a positive social impact and to be effective on different organizations such as community organizations, the media and health policy makers. The other aspect is to involve the parents in certain actions that is called parent "program." The "parent program" motivates the parents to help on children's homework, to improve on more positive relationships between parents and children and to be more active in their social environment. In Guiding Good Choices" (GGC) program, during two hour long sessions, the parents are taught by the instructors how to manage the family and how to create strong bonds among family members. Lions-Quest Skills for Adolescence" (SFA) is for middle school students. Mainly, the program focuses on how to create self-confidence of students and develop their personality. In this program personal responsibility is a very important notion. The instructors strive to teach the students to be able to refuse the social influences that may lead them to use drugs and alcohol. Additionally, the instructors want to improve adolescents knowledge about drug use and its results. [16]

Universal School Programs

DRS [15]

There are organizations that educates, advocates, and collaborates to reduce drug and alcohol problems in the state. Some programs may begin by allowing students to be interactive and learn skills such as how to refuse drugs. This is proven to be a more effective method than strictly educational or non-interactive ones. When direct influences (e.g., peers) and indirect influences (e.g., media influence) are addressed, the program is better able to cover broad social influences that most programs do not consider. Programs that encourage a social commitment to abstaining from drugs show lower rates of drug use. Getting the community outside of the school to participate and also using peer leaders to facilitate the interactions tend to be an effective facet of these programs. Lastly, teaching youth and adolescents skills that increase resistance skills in social situations may increase protective factors in that population.[14]

There are a number of community-based prevention programs and classes that aim to educate children and families about the harms of substance abuse. Schools began introducing substance abuse oriented classes for their students in grades as low as preschool. The inclusion of prevention studies into classroom curriculums at a young age have been shown to help to break early behaviors that could be signs drug abuse in the future. Around 40% of children have tried alcohol by the time that they are ten.

Drama based education to motivate participation in substance abuse prevention. (media from BioMed Central)
US Navy 061117-N-8132M-023 Master-at-Arms 1st Class Michael Turner of Mobile Security Squadron Two (MSS-2) collects information at the Substance Abuse Prevention Summit

School-based prevention programs

Smit, Verdurmen, Monshouwer, and Smil conducted research analysis to measure the effectiveness of family interventions about teen and adolescence drug and alcohol use. According to their data alcohol and drug use is very common in Western societies. For example 18% of the young adults between the ages of 12-14 year old in US have indulged in binge drinking. According to quantities in 2006, 73% of 16 year old US students were reported having used alcohol; In Northern Europe this is 90%. Since early use of alcohol and other substances may cause serious health, immediate solutions to these problem are required .[13]

"Prevention programs can strengthen protective factors among young children by teaching parents better family communication skills, appropriate discipline styles, firm and consistent rule enforcement, and other family management approaches. Research confirms the benefits of parents providing consistent rules and discipline, talking to children about drugs, monitoring their activities, getting to know their friends, understanding their problems and concerns, and being involved in their learning. The importance of the parent-child relationship continues through adolescence and beyond."[12]

Family based prevention programs

Primary prevention involves actions taken by individuals or groups to prevent predictable problems, protect existing states of health and healthy functioning, and promote desired states of being and functioning within supportive physical and socio-cultural environments.[11]

Plans on preventing substance abuse


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