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PREVENTION: The Science of Prevention

Links to Internet Resources, Fact Sheets and Publications

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Prevention can take many forms, including…

  • School-based drug & alcohol education programs
  • Intensive programs and interventions for "at-risk" children and youth
  • Recreational & athletic programs
  • Art and music programs
  • Mentoring
  • Faith-based programs and youth groups
  • Alternative events, such as alcohol-free parties and dances
  • Tutoring and academic support
  • Media and advertising campaigns
  • Parent education

When it comes to substance abuse prevention, the possibilities are endless. Even getting to know all the children on your street by name could be a substance abuse prevention effort if it helps create a more caring neighborhood environment. Any kind of program or activity that results in the reduction of the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD) can, in the broadest definition of the word, be considered “prevention.”

In recent years, substance abuse prevention research has focused on developing evidence-based programming. Evidence-based programs rely on theories and program outcomes that have been developed using social science research techniques. Evidenced-based programs are also called research-based or science-based.

One evidence-based approach to substance abuse prevention is the Risk & Protective Factors approach, which is based on the research of J. David Hawkins, Ph.D., Richard F. Catalano, Ph.D. and a team of researchers from the University of Washington. The Risk & Protective Factors approach is based on a simple premise: To prevent a problem from happening, we need to identify the factors that increase the risk of that problem developing and then find ways to reduce the risk. At the same time, we must also identify those factors that buffer individuals from the risk factors present in their environments and then find ways to increase the protection. For more information, go to the Risk/Protective Factors & CTC Page.

Other approaches to prevention include: the 40 Developmental Assets Approach, based upon the research of the Search Institute, America’s Promise, based on community support for youth, the Resiliency Approach, based upon the research of Emmy Werner and others, and Social Development Strategy.

 For more detailed information on substance abuse prevention, go to the Fact Sheets/Publications page or to the Websites & Internet Resources sections below.

Websites & Internet Resources

American Council for Drug Education The American Council for Drug Education (ACDE) is a substance abuse prevention and education agency that develops programs and materials based on the most current scientific research on drug use and its impact on society. The ACDE website has information useful for educators, parents, health care professionals, and employers.

COBYS Family Services
COBYS Family Services (Lancaster County) provides a variety of counseling and educational services from a Christian perspective, including parenting and child-care training using the 40 Developmental Assets model.

Commonwealth Prevention Alliance (CPA) The Commonwealth Prevention Alliance (CPA) is an organization dedicated to the professionals working to prevent the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs in Pennsylvania.

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)  A national organization for community anti-drug coalitions, made up of over 5,000 local coalitions nationwide. The site has tools and information for coalition-building and community substance abuse prevention.

Community Toolbox A great web-based resource for those involved in prevention programming development and management. Information on program planning, development, implementation, and evaluation. Operated by the University of Kansas.

CSAP Core Measures Initiative An online resource that connects Risks and Protective factors with data collection and program evaluation tools. Very easy to use. Operated by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

DRUGNET—Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Prevention Global Network Drugnet has been developed in part as a public service by Danya International, Inc. The site provides one of the most comprehensive listing/categorization with descriptions of other addiction-related sites and materials available on the Internet.

Drug Strategies Drug Strategies promotes more effective approaches to the nation's drug problems and supports private and public efforts to reduce the demand for drugs through prevention, education, treatment, law enforcement and community initiatives.

Drug Testing News A website that is a comprehensive source for up-to-date news and information on the drug and alcohol testing industry including legislation, legal issues, business, and technology.

Girl Power! A national public education campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help encourage and motivate 9- to 13- year-old girls to make the most of their lives. Girls at 8 or 9 typically have very strong attitudes about their health, so Girl Power! seeks to reinforce and sustain these positive values among girls ages 9-13 by targeting health messages to the unique needs, interests, and challenges of girls.

Institute for Research, Education and Training In Addictions (IRETA) IRETA's mission is to become a repository of information related to addiction research, health policy, prevention, intervention and treatment in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to develop effective mechanisms to transfer that knowledge to the substance abuse field.

Join Together Join Together supports community-based efforts to reduce, prevent, and treat substance abuse across the nation. The Join Together website provides the latest news in the field of substance abuse prevention and treatment, along with funding information, data and statistics, and links to other sites.

Lancaster County Drug & Alcohol Commission The Lancaster County Drug & Alcohol Commission is a county government agency that serves as Lancaster County's Single County Authority. The Commission coordinates and funds substance abuse treatment and prevention programs in the county.

National Clearinghouse for Drug and Alcohol Information Comprehensive information on the treatment and prevention of substance abuse-downloads, brochures, fact sheets, reports, and videos. Almost all of it is free and available in quantity. Operated by the federal government.

National Registry of Effective Programs (NREP) A registry of effective substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. Site is operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The Northeast Counterdrug Training Center Located at Ft. Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. Free training from nationally-recognized experts for those in law enforcement and drug demand reduction (prevention). Free meals and housing are also available for trainees.

Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) This federal agency reports to the President and is responsible for setting national policies on drug abuse treatment and prevention, as well as law enforcement.

Parents. The Anti-Drug A great website for parents and teachers. It also has a lot of helpful information for employers and faith communities.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Public Health Information Clearinghouse (PADOHPHIC) PADOHPHIC is the information clearinghouse for substance abuse and other health-related issues for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Free and low-cost publications, brochures, posters and other items.

Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence Association (PADUI) The Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Association is a professional organization which is working to address the DUI problem in all of its many stages -- from prevention to enforcement up to, and including, adjudication and rehabilitation.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's Bureau of Alcohol Education The Bureau of Alcohol Education works with other agencies and groups to reduce underage drinking and the misuse of beverage alcohol by legal consumers, with a special emphasis on preventing high-risk drinking by college students. Training, technical assistance, and other resources.

Pennsylvania Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Pennsylvania MADD website includes information about local chapters, legislation and advocacy, victim services, and education.

Pennsylvania Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Pennsylvania SADD website includes information about local chapters, education, conferences, contests, activities, and speakers.

Pennsylvanians Against Underage Drinking (PAUD) A coalition comprised of organizations and individuals working together toward reducing underage drinking in this state.

Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development (Penn State University) The Prevention Research Center aims to promote the well-being of children and youth and to reduce the prevalence of high-risk behaviors and poor outcomes in children, families and communities. Resources, publications, and events related to a broad range of prevention topics.

Search Institute The Search Institute is the primary developer of the 40 Developmental Assets. Web site users will find complete information on the 40 Developmental Assets, including books and videos for parents, educators, youth leaders, and faith-based organizations.