Addiction Prevention | Center on Addiction

Can you prevent addiction?

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Addiction is preventable.


One way that addiction and substance abuse can be prevented is through screening and early intervention. Prevention must begin during childhood and extend into later adolescence. Despite the benefits and availability of screening and early intervention tools, too few health professionals, school personnel, and social service providers routinely screen for tobacco/nicotine, alcohol and other drug use.

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Addiction Prevention Strategies

Messages that parents, doctors, teachers, the media and others in the community send to children and teens about the dangers of tobacco/nicotine, alcohol and other drug abuse can be extremely influential in helping to prevent addiction and reduce substance abuse.

School and community-based addiction prevention programs can help children, teens and adolescents:
  • Resist social pressures to engage in substance use
  • Strenghten self-esteem
  • Improve decision-making and communication skills
  • Manage stress and anxiety

Other prevention strategies include:

  • Increasing taxes on tobacco and alcohol products to reduce use, particularly among young people
  • Reducing the availability of excess prescription medications
  • Restricting advertising of addictive substances, particularly to young people
  • Restricting marketing of addictive substances in ways that appeal to youth


  • CASAColumbia. (2012). Addiction medicine: Closing the gap between science and practice.
  • CASAColumbia. (2011). Adolescent substance use: America's #1 public health problem.

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