Understanding Drug and Alcohol Prevention

Drug and alcohol prevention is of the utmost importance, especially during the adolescent years. Without prevention comes the increased risk of starting alcohol and drugs at a young age, which leads to a higher chance of becoming an addict or alcoholic. The responsibility of prevention lies on several parties, including:

  • Schools
  • Community programs
  • Friends
  • Family

A research study concluded that adolescents who try alcohol before the of 14 are much more likely to develop alcoholism at some point in their lives than those people who wait until they are 21 years of age to have their first drink. Those who start drinking at a young age are also more likely to endure:

  • Impaired school performance
  • Unintentional injuries
  • Legal issues
  • Memory problems

Effective alcohol and drug prevention takes place when all involved factors are taken into consideration. Some of the more common risk factors include:

  • Aggressive classroom behavior
  • Chaotic home atmosphere
  • Academic failure
  • Poor coping skills
  • Ineffective parenting
  • Rebellious behaviors
  • Parental substance abuse
  • Parental mental health issues

Protective factors found directly associated with effective drug and alcohol prevention include:

  • Loving home atmosphere
  • Presence of appropriate discipline when it is needed
  • Parents’ engagement in their children’s lives
  • Strong family bonds
  • Academic success
  • Strong ties to the community and church

Once again, it should be noted that effective alcohol and drug prevention takes more than one person. Groups and individuals alike must come together and take part in prevention programs that have proven to reduce drug and alcohol abuse.

For those who already suffer from a drug and/or alcohol addiction, prevention is of the utmost importance because it can help reduce the chances that the person will relapse. The best thing for such people to do is take part in an inpatient treatment program. It is here that prevention techniques can be learned. Let’s dive in and take a close look at drug relapse and how to prevent it.

Reasons for Relapse

The road to recovery is a long one. It is not something that happens overnight, nor is it something that ever ends. People who have had prior problems with drugs or alcohol always face the risk of relapsing. Some of the more common causes of relapse include:

  • Peer pressure
  • Stress
  • Avoiding withdrawal symptoms
  • Trauma
  • Testing personal control
  • Sadness/depression
  • Temptations
  • Anger

Addicts and alcoholics who relapse need to understand that returning to drug and alcohol use is a common part of recovery. The next step to take after a relapse occurs is to acquire additional prevention services, preferably by taking part in an inpatient rehab program. Additionally, the following tips can be followed:

  • Become involved in a support group: Staying clean from drugs and alcohol is extremely hard when a person becomes lonely. Because of this, it is important to build a strong support group. From family members to work colleagues to substance abuse counselors, a strong support network is comprised of many people. Anytime a person feels as if a relapse is near, communicating with people in their support network will be of the utmost advantage.
  • Stay away from old friends: A person is much more likely to relapse if he or she spends time with the people that he or she used to use drugs/alcohol with. While communicating with such people on a random basis may be of no harm, constant communication with them tends to lead back to active addiction. A person should do all he or she can to avoid any negative influences, including old companions.
  • Take part in drug-free activities: To a person in active addiction, it may seem that the only activities to partake in are those directly related to drug/alcohol abuse. When a person gets clean, however, it becomes apparent that drug-free activities do exist. Whether it be sporting events, church activities or some type of hobby, those in recovery need to remember that a crucial part of relapse prevention is staying busy doing things that don’t involve drugs and alcohol.
  • Stay away from bars and clubs: Going to bars is a sure way to fall back into addiction, nightclubs as well. These places tend to be crawling with drugs and alcohol, making it very difficult for a person in recovery to remain clean and sober.
  • Avoid prescription drug use: Just the same as illegal drugs, prescription drugs have the potential to be abused. While painkillers and narcotics are great at fulfilling their intended purposes, drug addicts often become addicted to them. For anyone who has a drug problem, staying away from prescription drug use is the best move to make.
  • Exercise and eat healthy: Getting enough sleep and exercising on a regular basis are great ways to prevent alcohol and drug abuse. These things help those in recovery to feel better about their selves, which is crucial in avoiding active addiction.
  • Be honest with one’s self: The most important thing a person can do to carry out effective drug and alcohol prevention is be honest. If one feels as if relapse is likely to take place, it is imperative to contact a trusted friend or family member or call someone in a local support group.

There are many community-based services that focus on alcohol and drug prevention. Being aware of such services and resources is a great way to find the help that is needed to lead a life free of alcohol and drug abuse.

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