Addiction affects millions of Americans. The problem has become a crisis for many people, an all-encompassing problem that affects one's home life, their finances, their ability to work, and their health. Addiction can not be ignored as a problem that will go away on its own; many people need professional treatment for their addiction. Addiction can be prevented, however. If we can find and implement effective prevention techniques, these millions of lives would be changed for the better.
Education in School to Encourage Prevention
The main way to prevent substance abuse and addiction is education. It is important to educate young people and adults on all the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. The message to "just say no" does not provide enough information to prevent abuse, particularly among curious young adults. Teens will often start getting involved with drugs and alcohol just because they want to see what it is like. By educating them more completely, we can help them understand the need to avoid these substances and not even experiment with them.
When educating people about the dangers of addiction, it is important to make the information age-appropriate. Teachers and prevention advocates can start with young children, teaching them that drug and alcohol abuse is dangerous, and continue on with more a more detailed message until the teenage and young adult years. As the individual gets older, they will learn more about the dangers and the different types of substance abuse. This also helps remind individuals what they learned as a child, and builds on the information they already know.
Education at Home
Prevention education does not have to just happen in a classroom. Parents play a large role in educating their children about the dangers of addiction, and the anti-drug message should really start in the home. Parents don't need to just lecture their children either, because other techniques are just as effective. Parents can practice ways to say no with their child. They can practice role playing situations that will help make them more comfortable when faced with the real temptation from a friend to try drugs. Most importantly, parents can have an ongoing conversation about the trends that are present, and provide a listening ear when teens need help saying no.
Avoiding Addicting Substances
Prevention is not just necessary for young people to learn. Many adults become drug and alcohol users later in life. People think that they can use a substance to meet a need now, and then stop when they want. However, as millions have found, addiction can quickly take over a person's life, and the best way to avoid addiction is to not start in the first place. Effective prevention techniques will target people of all ages and backgrounds, because we all need to be reminded of the dangers of substance abuse.