Addiction Prevention is a necessary part of addressing the chronic issue of substance abuse in our communities. There are many different factors that contribute to the likelihood of an individual experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Prevention focuses on providing resources and education that help individuals develop the skills they need in order to avoid using drugs and alcohol.
Addiction prevention work focuses on decreasing the risk factors an individual may have, and increasing the protective factors. Prevention also focuses on helping individuals develop the skills and knowledge they need in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent someone from abusing drugs and alcohol, there are skills that everyone can learn and understand to prevent substance abuse.
Examples of Risk Factors
A risk factor is something that can increase the likelihood of substance use disorder. Risk factors include:
- Family history of addiction
- Exposure to trauma
- Mental Health concerns
- Behavioral or impulse control problems
- Early initiation of drug use
- Environmental factors
- Availability of alcohol and drugs
- Academic failure
- Perceived risk of drug use
- Friends who use drugs
Examples of Protective Factors
A protective factor is something that can reduce the possibility of substance abuse. Protective factors include:
- Family attachment and bonding
- Parental engagement in child’s life
- Participation in prosocial activities with family, school and community
- Educational success
- Development of positive coping skills
- Positive modeling by parents/caregivers
Addiction Prevention Services
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services “the annual economic impact of substance misuse is estimated to be $249 billion for alcohol misuse and $193 billion for illicit drug use.” (http://hhs.gov)
In New York State, there are over 180 prevention providers funded through the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, or OASAS. Providers work to deliver evidence-based programming to schools, training sessions to educators and parents, and positive alternatives for children. Catholic Charities of Columbia & Greene Counties, Twin County Recovery Services and Tobacco-Free Action of Columbia & Greene Counties provide local prevention programming to youth.
Prevention education taught in the classroom is crucial to the development of healthy informed students. In Columbia County, Catholic Charities uses evidence-based programming called “Too Good For”, which aims to prevent substance abuse, violence, and delinquency in youth. Prevention providers also work with students to promote communication skills, develop healthy relationships, improve conflict resolution skills, manage stress, and practice self-control.
Twin County Recovery Services also provides evidence-based programming, approved by NYS OASAS, and SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration). These programs lay the groundwork for safe and drug-free living through a fun and interactive journey of setting reachable goals, communicating effectively, and making responsible decisions. Additional learning and development concepts include safe use of prescription and OTC medicines, maintaining self-control, managing anger, resolving conflict, and managing bully situations.
Twin County Recovery Services also provides Intervention Counselors in Greene County Schools, which has helped youth to improve their grades and build strong interpersonal relationships with teachers and classmates, which reduces or delays the onset of substance use and increases graduation rates.
The Tobacco Free Coalition of Columbia and Greene County is another Prevention Program utilized in both counties. The Tobacco Free Coalition collaborates with Twin County Recovery Services in delivering vaping presentations to Greene County residents of all ages.
Columbia-Greene Addiction Coalition works collaboratively with these agencies and various community stakeholders to ensure that our young people are educated and informed on making healthy decisions and living safe and prosperous lives.