Addiction | 6 min read

How To Prevent Drug Abuse: Everything You Need To Know

Medically Reviewed

Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

On April 17, 2023

Written By

Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

On April 17, 2023

How To Prevent Drug Abuse: Everything You Need To Know
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Let’s talk about how to prevent drug abuse and substance use disorder.

Alcohol Use and Substance Use Disorders Defined

Alcohol use disorders are characterized by drinking habits that lead to injury or suffering or when one becomes careless about their responsibilities and obligations.[1] Alcohol abuse may lead to damaged liver and problems with your heart.

Substance and drug abuse disorders are described by a person consuming substances like alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs continuously to the extent that it becomes a problem in multiple areas of life. Someone with this disorder might wish to stop using the substance persistently and/or attempt to limit or regulate substance use continually.

Substance use disorder may stem from a desire to try illegal drugs or even from a prescription from a doctor, like opioids and painkillers. At any rate, the health risks involved with substance use disorder are detrimental if not addressed quickly and safely.

How to prevent drug abuse

Increased Risk Factors For Dependence & Drug Abuse

No two dependencies are the same. Even though most people can become vulnerable to addiction, some risk and protective variables may affect your chance of developing a dependence.

According to scientific research studies, a person’s health is a function of the dynamic interplay between their genes and environment, AKA nature and nurture.[2] Individual, environmental, and genetic causes are three variables that contribute to a person’s risk of dependence on substances.


A person’s mental health is a risk factor for turning to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Anything from depression to bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other disorders may lead a person to try drugs for the first time and stick to them.

A person might have certain behavioral characteristics that make them more at risk for developing an addiction to drug abuse. For instance, if a person exhibited aggressive behavior as a child, regardless of their upbringing, they might be more susceptible to addictions later in life[3].

Other individual factors, such as general drug experimentation in your teenage years, might be a slippery slope to developing an unhealthy dependence later in life.


If you had a lack of support, emotionally or in general, in childhood, there is an increased risk of developing drug dependence later in life.

You may have had a lack of education about substance abuse prevention which led to not fully understanding the grasp it can have over your life. Education is a key component of prevention.


Some people are genetically predisposed to addictions. Research has shown that certain genetic makeups exist in people with a family history of addiction.

What Is Drug Abuse Prevention?

One aspect of the behavioral health spectrum is prevention of drug abuse. Prevention refers to a society, or support structure, that encourages healthy boundaries, and the development of knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to identify good decisions and alter negative behavior.

Sometimes medical or therapeutic intervention is required to emphasize prevention and stop negative behavior in its tracks.

Promotion, treatment, and recovery make up the remaining components of prevention. All are necessary aspects of a strong behavioral healthcare system, yet each plays a particular role. The promotion encourages favorable actions, like eating healthy, studying, being a good role model, and taking responsibility for one’s life. The likelihood of behavioral health problems is decreased by prevention.

Anyone with a recognized substance use disorder or mental condition is given treatment. After treatment, rehabilitation enables people to lead productive lives.

Benefits Of Drug Abuse Prevention

The benefits of drug abuse prevention are tenfold. When a person is given a healthy support structure that corrects negative behavior and guides them toward healthy choices, they are likelier to stick to those principles.

Some benefits of prevention include:

  • Recognizing peer pressure and developing the ability to say no or walk away from dangerous situations
  • Better dealing with life’s pressures to maintain responsibility and handle stress in healthier ways rather than turning to drugs
  • The ability to seek help when faced with mental health struggles
  • The ability to identify risks in your life and avoid them when possible
  • The ability to keep a more balanced life by evaluating situations that aren’t working or removing negative influences once identified

Personal Health and Fulfillment

Drug abuse prevention emphasizes the importance of healthy self-esteem and wellbeing. It encourages a person to be in tune with their body and acknowledge health problems right away.

Prevention plays a key role in a person’s overall health as they age. Keeping a tight grip on habits, both positive and negative, are essential for preventing poor or worsening health.

Receiving Qualified and Effective Support

The capacity to seek assistance when dealing with mental health issues stems from teaching that it is okay to admit something is off.

If a person’s mental health is struggling, the tenets of prevention teach that seeking qualified support is a healthy coping mechanism to get better.

Enhancing Interpersonal and Life Skills

Drug abuse prevention helps build the capacity to maintain a more balanced life by assessing circumstances that aren’t working or eliminating harmful influences once they have been found.

This helps keep toxic people or negative influences out of your life before they become a problem.

Learn Practical Prevention Strategies

Here are some practical prevention strategies to maintain a healthy, drug-free life.

#1 Develop Ways To Handle Peer Pressure Or Negative Influences

Keeping control over any situation you may find yourself in where another person, or group of people, is trying to get you to do something wrong is a skill.

Some ways to handle negative peer pressure include averting the subject, calling a trusted friend for help, or removing yourself from the situation.

#2 Educate Yourself On The Effects and Dangers of Drug Use

Understanding what’s at stake is half the battle when it comes to staying free from drugs. While some adolescents and young adults like to experiment with drugs, it can quickly become a slippery slope.

Knowing why and how a drug takes hold of a person helps you keep a level head when faced with a situation where you might try it.

#3 Practice Healthy Coping Skills

Often, people turn to drugs or alcohol if they haven’t practiced healthy coping skills. If you’re under stress, a walk in nature, speaking to a friend or therapist, or other ways for relief help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The goal is to curate a list of things to do when you’re feeling off, under pressure, stressed, or angry. When these feelings arise, you aren’t tempted by a quick fix from drugs or alcohol.

#4 Start Making Healthier Choices In Other Areas of Life Too

When you take your health seriously, you are objective about your emotional, mental, and physical needs. A proper diet, a good exercise regime, and active social life are all areas where you can experience life fully and live more healthily.

#5 Remove Negative Influences From Your Life

It may not be obvious that the people in your life are toxic to your health. But if you find yourself not feeling well, in the middle of the drama, or becoming a person you don’t want to be when around someone, it might be time to let the friendship go.

Sometimes even family can be toxic to your health. Don’t be afraid to restrict contact and set healthy boundaries with anyone who negatively influences you.

#6 Make Time For Healthy Self-Care

Practicing mindfulness is key to a healthy life. Make time for yourself and tend to your soul. Take a walk, a hot bath, or play with a pet — however you enjoy spending time alone, make sure it’s in your daily routine.

#7 Know Your Natural Risk Level or Additional Risk Factors

Acknowledge the influences in your life that may contribute to risk factors for developing addictions. This can be a family history of people on drugs or alcohol around you.

#8 Seek Holistic Professional Help

Don’t be afraid to contact a therapist or mental health professional if you are tempted to use drugs and alcohol — or have been going down that path and want to get ahead of a problem.

Drug use prevention strategies

Treatment Programs For Drug Abuse Prevention

Enrolling in a treatment program to help a substance use problem before it leads to disastrous effects is the safest path to recovery. Prevention programs are designed to help you identify potential problems with your alcohol use. Prevention is health care, and there is no stigma regarding asking for help.

Holistic Inpatient Detox

Inpatient detox services ensure you get the care you need to address growing concerns over your drug or alcohol use. Coming from a holistic approach, these programs help you ween off of drugs or alcohol in a safe and secure environment.

Outpatient Therapy

Outpatient therapy is there for you to discuss whatever in your life is causing you to turn to drugs and alcohol or prevent you from resorting to those coping mechanisms. Providers will listen to you and make suggestions based on your unique situation.

Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse

While no one can predict whether or not you will develop a dependence, there is help for you down a different path. At Ascendant, our treatment center is designed with your unique needs in mind. Contact us today to discuss your options for drug abuse prevention or recovery.

Ascendant New York Editorial Guidelines

Here at Ascendant New York, we understand the importance of having access to accurate medical information you can trust, especially when you or a loved one is suffering from addiction. Find out more on our policy.

  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (n.d.). Understanding alcohol use disorder.  Retrieved from on 2023, January 25
  2.  NIDA. (2022, December 19). Genetics and epigenetics of addiction drugfacts. Retrieved from on 2023, January 25
  3.  NIDA. (2014, March 31). Drugfacts lessons from prevention research. Retrieved from on 2023, January 25