National Substance Abuse Prevention Month – Where To Start

National Substance Abuse Prevention Month – Where To Start

“The majority of those who have a substance use disorder started using before age 18 and developed their disorder by age 20,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) > Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide » Introduction.

Given this fact, “What does effective substance abuse prevention look like — is it awareness programs in middle school and/or high school? — is it ‘Just Say, “No”? or it is __________________?” 

In my opinion, based on my twelve years studying, writing and speaking about 21st century brain research as it relates to brain development, adolescent behavior, mental illness and “all-things” addiction, effective substance abuse prevention should involve the following:

  • Helping Parents and Parents-to-Be Understand How the Brain Develops In Utero through Age 25
  • Helping Children, Teachers and Others of Influence in a Child’s Life Understand How the Brain Develops In Utero through Age 25
  • Helping All Concerned Understand Substance Use Disorders

To celebrate National Substance Abuse Prevention Month – October 2015…

Listen to Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy’s, message:

 

And, browse through some of the key information I’ve found and/or used and/or written that addresses the three areas I listed above:

Child's brain goes through critical developmental processes aged 5-20 and continues until around 22 for girls and 24 for boys. Source: NIDA, "Cormorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses," p. 4

A child’s brain goes through critical developmental processes aged 5-20 and continues until around 22 for girls and 24 for boys. Source: NIDA, “Cormorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses,” p. 4

Helping Parents and Parents-to-Be Understand How the Brain Develops In Utero through Age 25

  • U.S. National Library of Medicine > MedlinePlus > Fetal Development – as you read through this, you’ll learn at which stages brain development occurs In Utero, which is why it is so important for a woman to avoid drugs or alcohol during pregnancy and follow other medical recommendations for maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
  • NIDA Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction > Drugs and the Brain > Introducing the Human Brain – this explains how the brain works, which explains why drugs and alcohol (and other influences, such as genetics, childhood trauma, mental illness) can change the way a child’s (or an adult’s) brain works.
  • Partnership for Drug-Free Kids > The Teen Brain – you’ll find an explanation of the adolescent brain and it’s development. I also urge you to check out the Parntership’s Parent Tool Kit.
  • CDC and Kaiser Permanente > Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study – an important study explaining the role of adverse childhood experiences on brain development and long-term wellness. This study is now being used as the basis for “trauma-informed” programs in schools, juvenile justice, communities, and for this information, I urge you to explore the website, ACEs Too High.
  • Lisa Frederiksen > Want to Get Through to Teens | Talk to Their Brains – one of my blog posts to help parents talk to their teen by using simplified brain research.

Helping Children, Teachers and Others of Influence in a Child’s Life Understand How the Brain Develops In Utero through Age 25

In addition to the information presented above, check out:

  • NIDA > Parents & Educators for a wealth of information and free resources to help teachers, parents and others of influence in a child’s life talk with children at various ages about their brains and the influence of alcohol and other drugs on their brains.

Helping All Concerned Understand Substance Use Disorders

One of the most important ways to prevent substance use disorders is to understand how they develop. It’s not simply the use of a drug or alcohol. Understanding how substance use disorders develop will help parents, educators, youth and others of influence in a child’s life understand what “it” is that they are trying to prevent. For this, I suggest you read:

Celebrate October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

…by sharing this post and any other information you may be aware of that can further the conversation – prevention is stopping it before it starts.

Thank you!

Lisa Frederiksen

Lisa Frederiksen

Author | Speaker | Consultant | Founder at BreakingTheCycles.com
Lisa is the author of hundreds of articles and 11 books, including "If You Loved Me, You'd Stop!," "Addiction Recovery: What Helps, What Doesn't," and "Secondhand Drinking: the Phenomenon That Affects Millions." She is a national keynote speaker with over 25 years speaking experience, consultant, and founder of BreakingTheCycles.com. She has spent more than 14 years studying 21st century brain research in order to write, speak, and consult on substance use disorders prevention, intervention and treatment; mental disorders; addiction (aka substance use disorders) as a brain disease; adolescent addiction treatment vs adult addiction treatment; effective treatment for co-occurring disorders (having both a substance use and mental disorder); secondhand drinking | drugging; help for the family; and related subjects. In 2015, she founded SHD Prevention, providing training and consulting to companies, public agencies, unions, nonprofits and other entities to address the workplace impacts of employee secondhand drinking and alcohol misuse.

4 Responses to National Substance Abuse Prevention Month – Where To Start

  1. Lisa Neumann says:

    Great read Lisa. (Sorry I haven’t been over in a while. Work has been super busy, however you are always one of my good reads.) Also, thanks for the link to the “teen” post. I needed to read that one today as well. One thing I have noticed for me with my kids: I need to get educated first. I need to know me first, and I lead by example. I model everything for my children. My home is the primary environment of influence. Thank goodness I am no longer drinking (11 years now) or none of this would be possible.

    I am responsible and that is an empowering thought.

    I am grateful to women like you who are out there educating. What a valuable resource you are.

    xox Lisa Neumann

  2. Ronalis says:

    THIS SHORT FILM REALLY SENDS OUT A GREAT MESSAGE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE GONE ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY, BUT SOMETIMES THE PAST KEEPS GETTING IN THE WAY. PLEASE SHARE AND SUPPORT.

    Here is the link to the Facebook page and a link to the Trailer. This film means a lot to me since it’s dealing with addiction, something that was dealt with in my family. Please feel free to share this page. The film will come out next week on the Facebook Page.
    http://www.facebook.com/Carlos-469969016497248

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