Tips for Preventing Substance Abuse

Although there is no one way or guaranteed way to prevent someone from abusing drugs or alcohol, there are things that everyone can do to prevent substance abuse. Here are the top five ways to prevent substance abuse:

  1. Understand how substance abuse develops. Substance abuse starts by using addictive drugs (illicit or prescribed) for recreational purposes, seeking out intoxication every time you use, and abusing prescription medication.
  2. Avoid temptation and peer pressure. Create healthy friendships and relationships by avoiding friends or family members who pressure you to use substances. If you surround yourself with people who abuse drugs and alcohol, you are more likely to as well. Peer pressure is a major part of life for teens and adults. If you are trying to stay drug free, develop a good way to just say no and prepare a good excuse or plan ahead of time to keep from giving into peer pressure.
  3. Seek help for mental illness. Mental illness and substance abuse often go hand in hand. If you are dealing with a mental illness such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, you should seek professional help from a licensed therapist or counselor. A professional will give you healthy coping strategies to reduce your symptoms without turning to drugs and alcohol.
  4. Examine the risk factors. Look at your family history of mental illness and addiction. Several studies have shown that this disease tends to run in the family, but can be prevented. The more you are aware of your biological, environmental, and physical risk factors, the more likely you are to overcome them.
  5. Keep a well-balanced life. People often turn to drugs and alcohol when something in their life is missing or not working. Practicing stress management skills can help you overcome these life stressors and will help you live a balanced and healthy life.

Source: (Prairie View A&M University, 2022)