MAPPA believes that it is important for our legislative leaders to learn more about the field of
alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention. The following bulleted points present a basic
overview of the current state of prevention:
- Prevention is the creation of conditions, opportunities and experiences that encourage
and develop healthy people. It aims to forestall undesirable behavior or render it
impossible rather than taking corrective action later. Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug
(ATOD) prevention works to create conditions that prevent, reduce, and delay the use of
alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs by youth. Based on more than twenty years of
research, a science of ATOD prevention has now emerged. Science-based prevention is
grounded in a clear theoretical foundation that has been carefully implemented and
- Effective prevention strategies focus on both the individual and the environment.
Individually oriented strategies seek to socialize, guide, or instruct children in ways that
increase their resistance to health risks. Environmental strategies strive to support or
thwart the norms,availability, and regulations concerning ATOD use in the shared
- Prevention professionals work in every county in Maryland. Each county has a prevention
program based in the county health department,executive's office, or a non-profit
organization. Most often, prevention coordinators are the lead workers in county
prevention programs. Youth, parents, law enforcement, the schools, other agencies, the
faith community, and businesses are essential partners with prevention professionals in
implementing comprehensive strategies to prevent, reduce, and delay use of alcohol,
tobacco, and other drugs. Prevention professionals work to engage the community in
identifying the problems of youth substance abuse and to provide them with the skills,
resources and assistance necessary for them to address the problems successfully.
- Effective prevention programs are cost-effective. “For every dollar spent on drug use
prevention, communities can save 4 to 5 dollars in costs for drug abuse treatment and
counseling.” (Preventing Drug Use Among Children and Adolescents, National Institute
on Drug Abuse, 1999).
To learn how to tell Congress to keep prevention as part of health care reform, click here.