Substance use prevention must be reimagined to include broader variables that impact youth development and wellbeing
NEW YORK, February 16, 2022 – Partnership to End Addiction released a new report calling for an earlier and broader approach to protecting youth from substance use and addiction.
Research shows that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in early and middle childhood, along with biological and social vulnerabilities, set the stage for how children will fare as they grow older. Most current prevention strategies are necessary but insufficient to effectively prevent substance use risk among youth. They primarily target the individual child, rather than include parents, families, and communities, and typically begin in late middle or high school, rather than in early childhood when risk and resilience factors are established. They focus mainly on risk reduction, rather than health and resilience promotion, and they address only a small portion of individual risk factors, rather than the broader social determinants of risk and protection.
“By intervening earlier and more broadly, we can promote child health, prevent youth substance use and addiction, avoid future drug epidemics, and reduce the damaging consequences of addictive substances on future generations,” said report author Linda Richter, Ph.D., Vice President, Prevention Research and Analysis.
Rethinking Substance Use Prevention: An Earlier and Broader Approach presents a research-based case for integrating knowledge from the fields of early childhood development and healthy youth development into substance use prevention. The report offers a historical perspective on prevention and explains who is and should be responsible for prevention efforts. It argues for shifting prevention efforts earlier and for broadening their scope by breaking down siloes between fields. It describes barriers to change and offers recommendations for policymakers, caregivers, educators, health care providers, and researchers to enact an earlier, broader, and more effective approach to substance use prevention and youth health promotion.
About Partnership to End Addiction
Partnership to End Addiction is a national nonprofit uniquely positioned to reach, engage and help families impacted by addiction. With decades of experience in research, direct service, communications and partnership-building, we provide families with personalized support and resources — while mobilizing policymakers, researchers and health care professionals to better address addiction systemically on a national scale.