Prevention focuses on avoiding an occurrence of first use, relapse, harm, or the development of a disorder. Prevention plays a role in all aspects of the continuum of care.
Prevention, according to SAMHSA, is a process that empowers individuals and systems to meet the challenges of life events and transitions by creating and reinforcing conditions that promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles.
SAMHSA’s goal of substance abuse prevention is to foster a climate in which:
- Alcohol use is acceptable only for those of legal age and only when the risk of adverse consequences is minimal;
- Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are used only for the purposes for which they were intended;
- Other abusable substances such as aerosols are used only for their intended purposes; and
- Illegal drugs and tobacco are not used at all.
The role of prevention is to create healthy communities in which people have a high quality of life through:
- Healthy environments at work and in school
- Supportive communities and neighborhoods
- Connections with families and friends
- Drug and crime-free lives