Community-based organizations, schools and other organizations that work with youth can help prevent or delay substance misuse through strategies based on scientific research. These strategies include using prevention interventions that can create a more supportive and healthier environment for youth.
Young people are more likely to misuse alcohol and drugs if they are exposed to certain risk factors.
Risk factors are behaviors, attributes, characteristics or exposures that increase the likelihood of substance misuse. Such risk factors include:
Community groups and organizations can promote protective factors in order to prevent substance misuse in their communities. Such protective factors include:
Organizations can choose among the following types of prevention interventions based on their capacity to respond to community needs. Each intervention type aims to reduce risk factors while increasing protective factors within the population it is serving.
Many popular strategies have not been proven to actually lower substance misuse. Be sure you choose a prevention intervention based on scientific evidence. For further examples of local interventions, check back on this page in spring 2019.
This type of prevention intervention seeks to address risk factors across a large population with broad changes to their environment, through:
Selective interventions focus on groups that experience risk factors. Examples of this kind of intervention include:
This type of intervention is focused on people who are already using substances. Mentoring and brief counseling are forms of indicated prevention.