Prevent or Delay Substance Use

 Preventing or delaying the onset of substance use can help people avoid or reduce negative health outcomes. Many older programs that rely heavily on scary facts and stories don't work very well. Some strategies that research shows will help include:

  • Developing social skills including decision making, communication, assertiveness, and refusal skills are crucial to preventing or delaying the onset of substance use.
  • Understanding how peers, media and role models in the community, at home and at school influence the child's ability to make decisions.
  • Nurturing protective factors such as peer groups, community and sporting activities, and fostering interest in positive recreation will help to prevent and delay substance use in our youth.

Resources on protective factors, creating resiliency in youth, and prevention programs that seem to work

Learn how early experiences shape our brains, our health and our communities. Read about brain development and its relationship to life-long health, resiliency factors, and addiction as a disease that involves changes to the architecture of our brain.

This is a Canadian resource with extensive content for teachers and parents. It includes comic strips to go along with key ideas and information. There is an option to create an account and submit content. Content can also be accessed via an iPad app.

An easy-to-follow video which explains different prevention programs, how well they work, and factors that protect against problematic substance use.

A news article from Iceland that highlights several key themes related to prevention, with an emphasis on recreation and youth engagement.

It was published by the National Crime Prevention Centre. Describes the links between substance use and crime but then focuses on both general and specific substance use prevention programming.

Recent review on the effectiveness of substance use prevention. NOTE: free abstract and summary with quite a lot of detail. The full text may require post-secondary library access.

A summary of promising substance use programs originally published in Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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