Why Addiction Prevention Programs are Important


Wooden sign says "We need more addiction prevention programs."
We need more addiction prevention programs.

We’ll never be able to prevent all substance abuse disorders (SUDs) from happening, but we can do a lot more to create addiction prevention programs. These programs need to target risk factors and provide stronger reasons for abstinence.

Why America Needs Addiction Prevention Programs

Addiction prevention programs are especially important in the United States, which has the highest SUD rates in the world. According to these statistics, America has 27% of the world’s drug overdose deaths, but America is home to only 4% of the world’s population. Implementing addiction prevention programs throughout the nation would reduce SUDs and thus reduce the number of overdose deaths. They’re also beneficial in several other ways.

Stopping the Cycle of SUD Within Families

SUDs run in families due to both genetic and environmental reasons. Regardless of the reason, it’s usually the children who suffer the most. Of course, they aren’t the only ones who suffer. The whole family does.

How SUDs Impact Children

When a parent has an addiction children are at risk of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs, including things like exposure to violence, neglect, abuse). This can make them more likely to become addicted to substances later in life.

Many children also lose a parent to overdose, incarceration, or the loss of parental rights. This trauma makes an economic impact on your whole family. It also increases the likelihood that the child will become addicted to substances later.

Statistics show that parental SUD impacts over 9 million American children. However, they aren’t clear how many children lose their parents to this disease. What is clear is that 185 people die from an overdose each day so the numbers are probably quite staggering.

The best way to help children and families from experiencing this continuing epidemic is to create targeted addiction prevention programs. These programs need to be targeted at helping youth understand how dangerous SUD is and how they could lose their lives to it.

Wooden sign on wooden wall says "We need more addiction prevention programs."
We need more addiction prevention programs.

Prevention is Both Proven and Cost-Effective

When addiction prevention programs are used they’re shown to reduce the rates of SUD dramatically. Some studies suggest that rates are reduced by over 50%. Other studies show that prevention policies also have a significant impact on decreasing SUDs. Even comprehensive programs (an evidence-based framework for engaging the community and implementing proven prevention strategies) are of some use, albeit small.

Along with being highly beneficial, addiction prevention programs are also quite cost-effective - even giving back to society more than what they actually cost. Unfortunately, the initial investment in addiction prevention programs is usually undertaken by community organizations and the return comes via healthcare and the criminal justice system. Therefore, it’s so challenging to find sustainable funding for them.

Addiction prevention programs that focus on early childhood are especially beneficial here. They’re shown to reduce mental health issues and crime while promoting education. The programs have shown that they have long-term benefits too. These aren’t only for families, but also for society.

What All of This Means for You

Although addiction prevention programs are necessary, once a person is suffering from a SUD, it’s just as important to ensure that treatment is available for them. If you or your loved one suffers from a SUD, hopefully, you’ll be able to get the help you need. Detox isn’t the end of the road, though. Sobriety is a long road that can be very lonely. Don’t walk it alone. I’m here for you and I’ve also created some resources to help encourage your sobriety.