Addiction treatment programs incorporate the most advanced, up-to-date evidence-based methodologies available today. In spite of this, they can’t make much progress when it comes to solving the drug problem in America. For every addicted person who recovers, hundreds more become addicted. This is why drug prevention programs are more important than ever.
Did you know that about 62 percent of twelfth-grade students have tried alcohol? In fact, about one-tenth of alcohol consumption in the U.S. is by teenagers between the ages of 12 and 20. It’s also shocking to find that 50 percent of teenagers have misused an illicit drug at least once in their lifetime.
According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS):
“Youth drug abuse is a high-profile health concern, with at least 1-in-8 teenagers abusing an illicit substance in the last year.”
Of course, preventing drug use entirely is not a realistic goal. Even so, saving one life at a time is a positive step toward that end. Youth can gain knowledge about drug and alcohol use through the expansion of drug prevention programs. With this knowledge, they’ll have the tools and confidence to make informed choices when it comes to experimenting with illicit substances.
What Is an Evidence-Based Drug Prevention Program?
A drug prevention program helps communities, schools, and workplaces provide the support and education necessary to reduce drug use. An evidence-based program is one that has been tested and found effective in reducing youth substance use.
The financial burden of substance misuse is over $821 billion per year in healthcare, crime, and lost productivity, according to NIDA. However, SAMHSA estimates that the U.S. could save about $18 per every $1 invested in evidence-based prevention programs.
For communities that want to participate in preventing substance misuse, an evidence-based prevention program is a valuable resource. Evidence-based practices are defined as:
“Programs, policies, or other strategies that have been evaluated and demonstrated to be effective in preventing health problems based upon the best-available research evidence.”
An effective drug prevention program should have the following core elements:
- Structure – program setting, audience, and type
- Content – how the program presents the strategies, skills, methods, and information
- Delivery – how the program is selected, adapted, and evaluated in the community
Community leaders, educators, and parents should evaluate the program’s progress to determine whether goals are being met. By routinely evaluating the program, changes can be made that better address the community’s current needs.
Breaking the Cycle of Drug Use in Families
It’s important to note that evidence-based prevention programs are not solely for the benefit of our youth. Young adults, older people, and families also benefit from the programs. Substance use disorders often run in families due to genetics or learned behaviors. The risk of teens using substances increases when parents or other family members use substances at home. With this in mind, prevention programs seek to offer guidance and education to people of all ages.
More than 9 million children are impacted by parental or sibling substance use. Repeated exposure to drugs or alcohol can make a child more vulnerable to initiating substance use at a young age. In many cases, they continue the substance use into adulthood. Targeted, structured prevention programs seek to protect these children from experiencing the same outcome as their addicted family members.
Finding an Evidence-Based Prevention Program
Prevention programs are not all evidence-based. However, they are viable and effective programs nonetheless. Multiple databases and registries are available to provide information on a prevention program’s effectiveness.
Here are some resources you can use to find an evidence-based program:
- Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center, by SAMHSA
- Model and Model Plus Programs, by Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
- Stop Underage Drinking: Research and Resources, by SAMHSA
- The Community Guide, by the US Department of Health and Human Services
- Partnership to End Addiction
If your teen or someone else in the family is currently struggling with substance use, the above resources can help you determine the next steps to take. For instance, you can consider hosting an intervention for your loved one. An intervention specialist can assist you with the specifics of initiating this process. The goal is to convince your loved one to seek treatment before the substance use becomes more difficult to quit.
When Prevention Efforts Fail, Design for Change Recovery Can Help
Many organizations and individuals work tirelessly at preventing drug use. Unfortunately, their efforts don’t always succeed. Millions of people still fall victim to the ravages of substance use and addiction, despite the education and warnings.
When addiction happens, facilities like Design for Change Recovery are there to offer a solution. Our multi-faceted, evidence-based programs are proven to help individuals overcome addictions, regardless of the substance involved.
If you would like more information about how we can help you regain control over your life contact our Lancaster, CA facility today. We’ll design a treatment plan that is customized especially for your needs.