Companions in Prevention | SAMHSA


In October, we observe Youth Substance Use Prevention Month and Substance Misuse Prevention Month. As we kick off Prevention Month, let’s take a second to have a good time all that we’ve achieved collectively, in addition to recommit ourselves to the essential work that lies forward. Everybody has a task to play in prevention.

Prevention of Substance Misuse ― The place We Are and What Lies Forward

The substance use panorama continues to evolve with the continuing unfold of extremely potent artificial opioids (like illicit fentanyl) in counterfeit tablets and the re-emergence of stimulants like methamphetamine. On the identical time, we see altering state insurance policies associated to alcohol, marijuana, and hallucinogens. Vaping and tobacco merchandise stay readily accessible to younger individuals in lots of communities. And we proceed to be taught in regards to the perils and potentials of social media. All of that is occurring towards the backdrop of rising psychological well being challenges, particularly amongst younger individuals, which are inextricably linked to substance use.

In truth, substance use has by no means been riskier, whether or not it’s somebody’s first time utilizing, or a long-standing substance use dysfunction. The danger of overdose1,2 is now elevated with any use of a bootleg drug, given the efficiency, lethality, and unpredictability of fentanyl and different components (corresponding to xylazine) within the illicit drug provide.

What stays fixed is prevention science ― and the many years of community-based expertise and scientific analysis that exhibits prevention works.

And whereas we face many challenges, we’re seeing development. We should always have a good time and construct on this progress.

  • Alcohol use amongst youth has fallen considerably because the Seventies and Eighties, and has usually trended downward over the previous few many years. Alcohol stays essentially the most broadly used substance amongst youth, adopted by marijuana and nicotine merchandise (together with e-cigarettes and different vaping gadgets).
  • Lengthy-term information (from the Youth Danger Conduct Survey and Monitoring the Future research) additionally present declines in substance use amongst youth for many substances over the previous decade.
  • The 2021 Nationwide Survey on Drug Use and Well being exhibits that the majority youth (aged 12-17 years) have by no means used alcohol, nicotine, or illicit medicine of their lifetime.
    • 77.1 p.c have by no means used alcohol.
    • 83.5 p.c have by no means used nicotine merchandise (tobacco or nicotine vaping).
    • 78.7 p.c have by no means used illicit medicine (together with marijuana or misuse of prescription drugs).

Analysis exhibits that the sooner substance use begins, the extra seemingly it should develop right into a substance use dysfunction.3, 4, 5 That’s the reason it’s so vital that we work early with youth, to stop preliminary use in addition to delay the onset of use.

Prevention shouldn’t be restricted to youth. Prevention additionally focuses on adults, the place we work to stop or intervene with grownup misuse so as to forestall and cut back the well being and social harms of substance use, in addition to the development to substance use dysfunction.

Importantly, we all know that substance use has no single trigger and that’s the reason prevention should give attention to the spectrum of things and root drivers of substance use. Prevention works by strengthening protecting components and lowering threat components (PDF | 146 KB) ― on the particular person, household, faculty, group, and society ranges.

Examples of protecting components:

  • Creating problem-solving and battle decision expertise; growing emotional intelligence (together with how you can deal with and course of feelings); having optimistic peer, household, and group relationships; taking part in wholesome actions and connections (sports activities and recreation, arts, faith-based, cultural connections, and so forth.); and having alternatives for training, employment, and engagement.

Examples of threat components:

  • A low degree of emotional and communication expertise within the household; substance misuse within the household; trauma; publicity to abuse, neglect, or violence within the dwelling, faculty, or group; group norms and insurance policies favorable to substance use; and lack of life alternative.

Prevention is a well being fairness difficulty ― recognizing that substance use patterns and substance use-related harms differ, primarily based on the place somebody lives, their socioeconomic standing, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender id, and entry to providers and helps.

To optimize the influence of prevention, we should deal with the social determinants of well being; assist wholesome social and emotional growth; forestall and deal with trauma; assist mother and father and strengthen households; develop evidence-based packages in communities and faculties; and enhance the protection, stability, and livability of group environments.

Neighborhood engagement is a foundational a part of each step of prevention planning. A participatory tradition, led or co-led by members of the group of focus, is vital to the equitable scale-up of evidence-based methods. Deliberately integrating and valuing the voices, views, and experiences of youth and younger adults as brokers of change in prevention is vital for fulfillment; please go to Voices of Youth.

Assets to Put Prevention Science into Apply in Your Neighborhood

There are sources to successfully put prevention science into follow:

To get extra concerned:

The truth is that we face many substance use and psychological health-related challenges in our nation. Moderately than constantly enjoying catch up, prevention gives us a possibility to get forward of those challenges ― so that children, households, and communities can thrive.

We’re all companions in prevention. Every of us has a task to play, in stopping substance misuse — and stopping human struggling — as people, amongst household and associates, at work and college, in our communities, and in society.

Let’s use Prevention Month as a name to motion for every of us ― individually and collectively ― to redouble our efforts to advance the life-saving work of prevention in communities throughout our Nation.


1 Ahmad FB, Cisewski JA, Rossen LM, Sutton P. (2023). Provisional Drug Overdose Demise Counts. Nationwide Heart for Well being Statistics, Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. August 28, 2023.

2 Friedman J, Godvin M, Shover CL, Gone JP, Hansen H, Schriger DL. (2022). Tendencies in Drug Overdose Deaths Amongst U.S. Adolescents, January 2010 to June 2021. JAMA. 2022:327(14):1398–1400. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.2847

3 Grant BF, Dawson, DA. Nationwide Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (1997). Age at Onset of Alcohol Use and Its Affiliation with DSM-IV Alcohol Abuse and Dependence: Outcomes from the Nationwide Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. Journal of Substance Abuse, Vol. 9, pp. 103-110.

4 Grant BF, Dawson, DA. Nationwide Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (1998). Age at Onset of Drug Use and Its Affiliation with DSM-IV Drug Abuse and Dependence: Outcomes from the Nationwide Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. Journal of Substance Abuse, Vol. 10, pp. 163-173.

5 Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021). Youthful age of first hashish use or prescription drug misuse is related to quicker growth of substance use problems. August 28, 2023.



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