Preventing Substance Use
Talking to kids, teens, and young adults about substance use and abuse is important to educating them while also letting them know that they can talk to a trusted adult about substance use, peer pressure, and substance abuse.
Key steps to helping prevent substance use among young children and teens
For school-aged children, educators and parents can focus on strengthening ties to the family and community. Participate in school-based or community-based “Just Say No” programs. Begin educating young children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, engage in drug-free poster contests, and focus on building self-esteem and self-awareness among young children, for examples.
For pre-teens and adolescents, focus on ways to deal with peer pressure, making good choices and avoiding risky behaviors, the dangers of drugs and alcohol on the developing brain, and the risks vs. consequences. Open and honest communication in the home and in schools is key at this age.
Online substance use prevention resources include:
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published these “16 Key Prevention Principles” - https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/preventing-drug-abuse-among-children-adolescents-in-brief/prevention-principles
- Keep Kids Drug Free - http://www.kkdf.org/index.cfm?p=prevention_activities
- Preventing substance use - https://www.samhsa.gov/prevention
- Youth.gov – Prevention - https://youth.gov/youth-topics/substance-abuse/evidence-based-programs-youth-substance-abuse-prevention-and-treatment