Author: John Carter

To End the Drug Crisis, Bring Addiction Out of the Shadows National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA

how to prevent drug abuse

Yet, for her, the stigma of addiction and suicide was more powerful than the scientific understanding I was trying to bring to medicine. Our goal is to focus on preventing the possibility of unhealthy outcomes and behaviors that can push substance use into misuse or addiction. SAMHSA explains that family and friends who are supportive of recovery can help someone change because they can reinforce new behaviors and provide positive incentives to continue with treatment. Roughly half of all adults being treated for substance use disorders in the United States participated in self-help groups in 2017. Making healthy friendships plays a major role in your overall health and well-being.

  1. The more risk factors people face, the greater the likelihood that they will become addicted.
  2. However, evidence-based prevention strategies can help people avoid substance use, substance use disorders, and related health and safety problems.
  3. If your thoughts when you awake go straight to your substance, you may want to reach out to a professional.
  4. To minimize this risk in children, teaching them the power of independence and ensuring they are aware of the various health risks that come with using drugs can help them more easily make healthy choices.

This can have severe consequences, including increased tolerance to the substance, withdrawal effects (different for each drug), and social problems. If your child experiences any of these hurtful experiences, it is important to get them professional help. Adverse childhood events or ACEs are increasingly being linked with drug use and mental health disorders that arise later in life.


When it comes to preventing substance abuse, there are various factors that go into making better decisions for the mental and physical health of both yourself and others. If they are already using or are ‘at-risk,’ then reaching out to community prevention programs and resource centers that aim to prevent substance abuse can be a great way to provide support to these struggling youths. Community prevention programs can also often lend assistance and resources for reference in this regard. If you are unable or unsure of how to keep yourself and your loved ones away from harmful substances, it can help to seek professional assistance in preventing substance abuse.

how to prevent drug abuse

Read more about risk and protective factors that impact whether people use drugs or develop substance use disorders. While many people try drugs at some point in their lives and even continue to use them, only some people develop substance use disorders. No single factor determines whether a person will develop a substance use disorder.

The power of protective layers: Employers advancing whole-person health

When individuals leave high school and live more independently, either in college or as an employed adult, they may find themselves exposed to drug use while separated from the protective structure provided by family and school. The more risk factors people face, the greater the likelihood that they will become addicted. Protective factors can help reduce risks for individuals and prevent the development of addiction.

So, preventing early use of drugs or alcohol may go a long way in reducing these risks. Moreover, individuals who are said to have an “addictive personality” may be at a larger risk for developing a range of addictions. Thus, even small doses and short-lived interactions with substances may lead someone to become addicted.

Surround Yourself With Support

However, you need to choose your friends wisely as socializing with the wrong crowd can easily lure you into drug use, and you may find yourself abusing drugs in no time. A good number of people who abuse drugs do so as a coping mechanism for the negative things they are facing in life. It is important to note that there is nothing wrong with experiencing negative emotions.

SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) leads federal efforts to promote the prevention and treatment of mental disorders. SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) aims to develop comprehensive systems through providing national leadership in the development of policies, programs, and services to prevent the onset of substance misuse. Drug abuse prevention requires a comprehensive approach that combines early intervention, education, and community support. By implementing these strategies, communities can take proactive steps to reduce the prevalence and impact of drug abuse on individuals, families, and communities.

Intervention works by confronting the specific issues and encouraging the person to seek treatment. One can also get excited after receiving social media notifications, resulting in smartphone addiction. The most common forms of addiction, however, are those involving addictive substances, such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opioids, and various others. Having family members who have struggled with drug abuse in the past can significantly increase a person’s chances of developing these habits themselves.

How can I help someone at risk for substance use or related health problems?

Compared to a placebo (a pill with no therapeutic value), it significantly reduces symptoms of withdrawal and may cause less of a drop in blood pressure than similar agents. Going through detox is a crucial step in recovery, and it’s these first few weeks that are arguably most critical because they are when the risk of relapse is highest. There are three ways to “bind” yourself from – or place limits on – the behavior to which you’re addicted. Employing these strategies can help you enjoy some version of that behavior without letting it take over. Here I highlight important work being done at NIDA and other news related to the science of drug use and addiction. Unfortunately, stigma limits the impact of this knowledge and the reach of our tools.

We need a large-scale social intervention to change public attitudes toward addiction and people who have the disease. And we must make it safe for patients and families to discuss addiction and remove the shame that interferes with its treatment. Government policies, including criminal justice measures, often reflect — and contribute to — stigma.

Better understanding these factors is critical to developing prevention strategies that lessen the impact of risk factors and bolster or introduce new protective factors. NIDA funds research to identify risk and protective factors and seek ways to prevent substance misuse and substance use disorders even when multiple risk factors are present. Use and misuse of drugs like alcohol, nicotine, illicit drugs, and even prescription medications is an increasingly large concern. Addiction is the state of psychological or physical dependence on alcohol or other substances. Often, the term addiction is interchanged with substance use disorder or substance dependence.

All these responsibilities expose you to a chronic state of stress, leaving you no time to rest. Even practicing mindfulness can help make what seems unbearable a bit easier, even for younger individuals by learning how to ‘observe’ thoughts without acting on them. Human beings have a habit of not wanting to be left out, especially by their friends and peers. For this reason, you will find that most teens and some adults start abusing drugs as a way to fit in with their friends. While these behaviors may give you short-term gains, the long-term side effects are far worse and often can result in permanent damage.

They’re separated into the following categories, all having the capacity to be misused or foster an addiction. Whatever is said during an intervention should be done so with the intention of helping the person accept help. While a person is free to say anything they want during an intervention, it’s best to be prepared with a plan to keep things positive and on track. The Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS), Family First Interventions, and the Network of Independent Interventionists are three organizations of professional interventionists. Detoxification is not equivalent to treatment and should not be solely relied upon for recovery. A person may need to try quitting more than once before maintaining any length of sobriety.