Why is it important to prevent addiction?

Evidence-based prevention interventions, especially those that focus on early childhood, do more than reduce drug use; they also reduce mental health problems and crime and promote motivation and academic achievement. As noted above, early drug use increases a person's chances of becoming addicted. Remember, drugs change the brain and this can lead to addiction and other serious problems. Therefore, preventing early drug or alcohol use can go a long way in reducing these risks.

Providing a strong foundation and a clear message about the harm that addiction can cause is critical to adolescent substance abuse prevention efforts. The purpose of prevention is to try to prevent someone from participating in a harmful action that has substantial consequences before those consequences occur. For adolescent substance abuse prevention, this can range from preventing teens from drinking alcoholic beverages to restricting access to more dangerous drugs such as cocaine or fentanyl. Teens who experiment with drugs put their health and safety at risk.

Help prevent drug abuse in teens by talking to your child about the consequences of drug use and the importance of making healthy choices. That is why delaying the age of first use of alcohol and drugs is a fundamental objective of prevention. However, other protective factors, especially proactive parenting and strong family ties, can help delay adolescents' experimentation with drugs and alcohol and thus help reduce problems in the long term. This broad term may include actions aimed at reducing supply (based on the principle that decreasing the availability of substances reduces opportunities for abuse and dependence) and actions aimed at reducing demand (including health promotion and disease prevention).

If teens start experimenting with drugs to fit in or become friends, they can unknowingly create a life-threatening habit; therefore, prevention is critical. Driving under the influence of psychoactive substances) and reducing the risk of exposure to substances and, therefore, of developing dependence, are essential components of prevention. Better prevention strategies can be derived by learning more about how experience modifies the brain and the interdependence between genetic vulnerability and development, especially among children and adolescents exposed to substance use. The knowledge drawn from neuroscience reinforces the need to avoid experimentation and escalation of use and dependence, as well as the need to avoid repeated exposure, by limiting availability, reducing opportunities to use substances and making the individual more resistant to substances through psychosocial interventions.

With this information, you can teach your children to prevent them from falling into use and addiction themselves. The scope of prevention has been expanded, allowing the prescription of different interventions for people according to their varying degrees of vulnerability to substance experimentation, continuous use and dependence. Evidence-based prevention interventions, carried out before the need for treatment, are critical because they can delay early use and stop the progression from use to problem use or substance use disorder (including its most severe form, addiction), all of which are associated with a cost individual, social, and public health consequences. Preventive conversations can facilitate trust between parents and child and lead to wise decisions when it comes to habits, friends, interests, and influences.

Variations in personal characteristics and sociocultural environment create differences in the degree of vulnerability to substance experimentation, continuous use and dependence, meaning that prevention must also vary in both content and intensity. A better understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying substance dependence may lead to better strategies to prevent substance involvement and dependence. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the founding in 1982 of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, advocacy for recovery and thought leadership, medical and professional education programs, school prevention resources and a specialized program for children growing up in families with addictions. The scope of prevention also includes early intervention with people who have experimented with substances but are not very dependent and can therefore be re-educated through learning interventions, as well as treatment of dependence, relapse prevention and social reintegration.

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Jennie Hovey
Jennie Hovey

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