Prevention is achieved through the application of multiple strategies. It is an ongoing process that must relate to each merging generation.

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At the ATOD Prevention Center, we believe prevention is:

  • The development of social and physical environments that facilitate drug-free lifestyles
  • The promotion of constructive lifestyles and norms that discourage drug use

Put It All Together

In general, the following factors must be present for a person to perform a change in behavior:

  • A strong positive intention or commitment to change
  • An environment that makes it possible for the new behavior to occur
  • The skills needed to perform the behavior
  • Belief in one’s ability to perform the behavior
  • Belief that the advantages of performing a behavior outweigh the disadvantages
  • More social pressure to perform the behavior than not
  • A view that performing the behavior is more consistent than inconsistent with one’s self image
  • An emotional reaction to performing the behavior that is more positive than negative


What is prevention?

Prevention is a proactive process which empowers individuals and systems to meet the challenges of life events and transitions by creating and reinforcing healthy behavior and lifestyles by reducing risks contributing to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug misuse.

Theories of Prevention

Diffusion of Innovations Framework

Individuals embrace the innovation according to their readiness to accept and try new ideas. Support for a new substance use behavior spreads as “trendsetters” talk about it.

Prevention strategies may direct messages to opinion leaders and then engage them to reach people who are more resistant to change.

Stages of Change Theory

Five stages or steps are used to alter personal behavioral patterns and lead to long-term change:

  1. Precontemplation: being unaware of or refusing to acknowledge the risks
  2. Contemplation: beginning to consider a change and weighing the costs and benefits
  3. Preparation: deciding on and planning for a change in behavior
  4. Action: implementing a plan to change and beginning a new behavior
  5. Maintenance: reinforcing and making a habit of a new behavior

People can move from one stage to the next when they receive and process information. Some may even “downgrade” to a previous step.

Health Belief Model

People are motivated to change their behavior only as much as they value (or worry about) the results of their choices and expect these results to happen. People must also be confident they can carry out this new action.

A prevention strategy may focus on short-term consequences of a substance use and long-term positives of changing to a non-substance use behavior.

Tips and strategies to overcoming obstacles is key in a prevention strategy so that a person knows what to do and how to do it.

TU Community

Community Organization Theory

This model emphasizes the active involvement and development of communities to address health and social problems

Key features include:

  • Understanding the root cause of problems
  • Focusing on specific concerns
  • Engaging in effective problem solving
  • Encouraging active community participation
  • Gaining the power to produce lasting change