What is Prevention?

Reaching individuals before harm does

Prevention typically consists of methods or activities that seek to reduce or deter specific or predictable problems. It protects individual well-being and promotes desired behaviors.

Education is a key element of prevention. To understand how to contribute to the prevention of substance use disorders, all individuals need to know two important facts:

Substance use disorders are diseases. They are progressive, chronic, and fatal. They are classified as primary diseases, meaning they are caused by something else, such as an emotional problem or poor choices. Substance use disorders are medical conditions of the brain.

Substance use disorders are treatable. Just as heart disease or diabetes can be treated, so can substance use disorders. In addition to medication, effective treatments usually involve therapy and connecting to community support.

Sharing these facts helps remove stigma around substance use and makes people more comfortable talking about it. This opens up opportunities to:

  • Increase collaboration among state agencies, community organizations, and special populations
  • Develop culturally appropriate strategies and implement plans to reduce risks and increase protective factors across the state and in specific communities
  • Expand citizen participation in community activity

The most promising way to reduce alcohol and drug problems is to use a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to prevention. There are evidence-based tools that organizations and communities can use to guide these efforts. For example, organizations that adopt a Strategic Prevention Framework and develop logic models are more likely to achieve positive outcomes.