Addiction may have a genetic component, but it is also a preventable and treatable disease. Early intervention and prevention programs can help mitigate the risk of addiction in young people. (1)


The following methods may be helpful at reducing and/or preventing substance use, especially in younger people. There are six strategies for primary prevention activities, according to SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention: (2)

  • Information dissemination: provides awareness and knowledge of the nature and extent of drug misuse and its effects.


  • Education: communicates to improve the life and social skills of participants. This is different from information dissemination because the teacher and participants interact with each other.


  • Alternatives: provides activities that don’t include drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, in hopes that participants will have their needs met without resorting to drugs.


  • Environmental: establishes or changes community standards, codes, and attitudes to influence the misuse of drugs in a community.


  • Community-based process: enhances the ability of the community to provide prevention and treatment services.


  • Problem identification and referral: identifies people who have initiated drug misuse to assess if their behavior can be changed through education. As a prevention activity, this does not refer people to treatment but provides intervention before treatment is needed.



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