MAPPA believes that it is important for our legislative
leaders to learn more about the field of alcohol, tobacco,
and other drug prevention. The following bulleted points
present a basic overview of the current state of prevention:
- Prevention is the creation of conditions, opportunities
and experiences that encourage and develop healthy
people. It aims to forestall undesirable behavior or
render it impossible rather than taking corrective action
later. Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD)
prevention works to create conditions that prevent,
reduce, and delay the use of alcohol, tobacco, and
other drugs by youth. Based on more than twenty
years of research, a science of ATOD prevention has
now emerged. Science-based prevention is grounded
in a clear theoretical foundation that has been carefully
implemented and evaluated.
- Effective prevention strategies focus on both the
individual and the environment. Individually oriented
strategies seek to socialize, guide, or instruct children
in ways that increase their resistance to health risks.
Environmental strategies strive to support or thwart the
norms,availability, and regulations concerning ATOD
use in the shared environment.
- Prevention professionals work in every county in
Maryland. Each county has a prevention program
based in the county health department,executive's
office, or a non-profit organization. Most often,
prevention coordinators are the lead workers in county
prevention programs. Youth, parents, law
enforcement, the schools, other agencies, the faith
community, and businesses are essential partners with
prevention professionals in implementing
comprehensive strategies to prevent, reduce, and
delay use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
Prevention professionals work to engage the
community in identifying the problems of youth
substance abuse and to provide them with the skills,
resources and assistance necessary for them to
address the problems successfully.
- Effective prevention programs are cost-effective. “For
every dollar spent on drug use prevention, communities
can save 4 to 5 dollars in costs for drug abuse
treatment and counseling.” (Preventing Drug Use
Among Children and Adolescents, National Institute on
Drug Abuse, 1999).
To learn how to tell Congress to keep prevention as
part of health care reform, click here.