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Why substance prevention is so important

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Benjamin Franklin. The more knowledge that is spread about substance abuse and prevention, the more information and resources that are given to the people who may be in need.


It is important to know the risk factors that can be a sign of substance use. According to the Family and Social Services Administrations, many people and adolescents who experiment with drug or substance use often exhibit behaviors like bad or negative behaviors, a family history of substance abuse, family problems, depression, anxiety, signs showing their approval of substance use (even joking about using drugs or alcohol), rebellion within school or towards a parental figure, and if their peers also involve themselves with substances. There can be many contributing factors that can lead to a person falling into the trap of substances, so it is important we know how to prevent them.


Knowledge is power when preventing drug or alcohol use and or abuse, so knowing how to help prevent it can save somebody, a peer, or someone you love. Positivechoices.org says, “The harms associated with drugs and alcohol, including accident, injury, and violence are particularly high for young people. Drugs and alcohol can also interfere with the developing adolescent brain. Therefore, the National Health and Medical Research Council advises that for young people under the age of 15, it is particularly important that they do not consume alcohol. For 15-17-year-olds, the safest option is to delay the consumption of alcohol for as long as possible.” Knowing that alcohol and substances can interfere with your growth and learning capabilities can help you rethink a choice that you may make.


Many people often begin to use substances in their adolescence and figure out that it can be very difficult to stop what they have started. This can lead to negative outcomes like worsening performances in school, relationships, lower quality of life, depression, addiction and more. Positivechoices.org states, “Problems with alcohol and other drug use often begin during adolescence and research shows that the earlier a young person starts to use drugs and alcohol, the more likely they will experience various negative outcomes. These include poor school performance and early drop out, an increased risk of other mental health problems, dependency on substances (i.e. addiction), and an increased likelihood of juvenile offending. This highlights the need for effective prevention in adolescence to protect young people from these associated harms.”


So what are some ways you can help spread your knowledge about the importance of staying away from substances? There are many things you can do to set good examples and show that substance use may only be a temporary fix to a problem, which creates an addiction that can last a lifetime. Some examples of how you can help are by providing support to anyone and everyone or leading them in the right direction can give them all of the help that they need. Be a person that your peers can look up to, providing education and research about how these substances can affect you now, and in the long run. Teach people to say no and that their safety is more important than how someone is feeling in that moment and give them better alternatives than using substances to solve their problems.


You can only live once and using substances can lead to addiction, injury, overdosing, and death. You are NEVER alone, so help spread knowledge about how you can prevent peers from using substances. Everyone needs to understand how it can affect your life.


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For more information on SADD's programming or activities on substance prevention topics, check out sadd.org/programs

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