In October, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is observing Youth Substance Use Prevention Month. The need for prevention has never been greater. Studies show that the earlier in life a young person starts using alcohol or other drugs, the greater their lifetime risk of misuse or addiction.1,2
For prevention to be effective, we focus on what works. A Guide to SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (PDF | 3.3 MB) offers five steps and two guiding principles to put comprehensive solutions in place. We know, for example, that prevention works best when it:
We also know that early intervention is vital for youth. Every year that substance use is delayed while the adolescent brain develops, the risks of addiction and substance misuse decrease.1,2
A modern prevention system includes four elements (4 E’s):
Prevention saves money.
The President’s 2023 budget request calls for increased funding to expand evidence-based prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support, with targeted investments to support underserved communities, as well as to reduce the supply of illicit drugs and stop drug trafficking.8
This month and this year, connect others to evidence-based prevention resources. Here’s just a few of the resources available through SAMHSA:
Examples of SAMHSA’s most recent grant funding include:
Throughout October and all year long, let’s celebrate all those who are doing prevention work in support of better, healthier lives for individuals, families, and communities. We’re stronger together, using prevention science to save lives.
1Grant BF, Dawson, DA. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (1997). Age at Onset of Alcohol Use and Its Association with DSM-IV Alcohol Abuse and Dependence: Results from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. Journal of Substance Abuse, Vol. 9, pp. 103-110.
2Grant BF, Dawson, DA. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (1998). Age at Onset of Drug Use and Its Association with DSM-IV Drug Abuse and Dependence: Results from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. Journal of Substance Abuse, Vol. 10, pp. 163-173.
3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. National Vital Statistics System, Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts. Ahmad FB, Cisewski JA, Rossen LM, Sutton P. Accessed at www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm on Sept. 19, 2022
4Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP21-07-01-003, NSDUH Series H-56). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
5National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Costs of Substance Abuse. https://archives.drugabuse.gov/trends-statistics/costs-substance-abuse#supplemental-references-for-economic-costs
6National Institute on Drug Abuse. (January 2018). Is Drug Addiction Treatment Worth Its Cost? https://nida.nih.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/drug-addiction-treatment-worth-its-cost
7Miller, T. and Hendrie, D. (2008). Substance Abuse Prevention Dollars and Cents: A Cost-Benefit Analysis (HHS Publication No. (SMA) 07-4298). Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
8The White House. (March 28, 2022). President Biden Calls for Increased Funding to Address Addiction and the Overdose Epidemic. https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/briefing-room/2022/03/28/president-biden-calls-for-increased-funding-to-address-addiction-and-the-overdose-epidemic/