rcadd - rockland council on alcoholism and other drug dependence PREVENTION is intervention

What Is Prevention?

Providing programs and interventions that take place prior to the onset of a substance use disorder in order to prevent or reduce the risk of developing a behavioral health problem, such as underage alcohol use, prescription drug misuse and abuse, and illicit drug use.

These interventions include curricula, programs, policies and procedures that decrease risk and enhance protective factors associated with substance use.

<strong>Universal Prevention</strong>

The mission of universal prevention is to deter the onset of drug abuse by providing all individuals in a population with the information and skills necessary to prevent the problem.  Universal prevention programs are delivered to large groups without any prior screening for drug abuse risk status of the individual program recipients.  The entire population is assumed at-risk for substance abuse.

  • Examples: Substance abuse education in schools, media and public awareness, (i.e. Red Ribbon Week, Alcohol Awareness Month)

<strong>Selective Prevention Strategies</strong>

Selective prevention targets specific subgroups of the population that are believed to be at greater risk that others.  Age, gender, family history, place of residence, (i.e. high drug use, or low-income neighborhoods) and victimization, or physical and/or sexual abuse may define the targeted subgroups.  Selective prevention targets the entire subgroup regardless of the degree of risk of any individual with the group.  

  • Example: Skills training for groups affected by environmental influences like high crime rate, unemployment and community disorganization.

<strong>Indicated Prevention Strategies</strong>

Indicated prevention approaches are used for individuals who may or may not exhibit early signs of substance abuse but exhibit risk factors.  The aim of indicated prevention programs is not just the reduction in first time substance abuse but also reduction in the length of time the signs continue, delay of onset of substance abuse, and/or reduction in the severity of substance abuse.  Individuals can be referred to indicated prevention programs by parents, teachers, school counselors, school nurses, youth workers, friends or the courts.

  • Examples:   Youth already engaged in substance abuse and/or negative behaviors, such as truancy, early anti-social behavior, Children of Substance Abusers.  

Program For Students

Elementary School

Botvin Life Skills Training, grades 3-5 (Evidence-Based Program)

An 8-week program tailored to elementary students in grades 3-5, aimed at skill building to prevent substance use. Topics include Self-Esteem, Decision-Making, Information on Smoking, Dealing with Stress, Advertisements and Media, Communication Skills, Social Skills, and Assertiveness.

SPORT, grades K – 2 (Evidence-Based Program)

A strengths-based program designed to increase health-enhancing behaviors. Topics include: Healthy Nutrition, Exercise, and Sleep.

Middle School

 Botvin Life Skills Training, grades 6-8 (Evidence-Based Program)

A 15-week program tailored to Middle School students, aimed at skill-building to prevent substance use. Topics include Self-Image, “The Three C’s”, Social Skills, Communication Skills, Media Influence, Resistance Skills, and more.

Girls Circle (ages 9 – 18)

A structured support group for girls and young women from ages 9-18 which integrates skills training and resiliency practices, and is designed to increase positive connection, strengths, and competence in girls. It aims to counteract social and interpersonal forces that impede girls’ growth and development by promoting an emotionally safe setting and structure within which girls can develop caring relationships and use authentic voices.

rcadd - rockland council on alcoholism and other drug dependence

Boys Council (9 – 18)

A strength-based group approach to promote boys’ and young men’s safe and healthy passage through pre-teen and adolescent years. In this structured environment, boys and young men gain the vital opportunity to foster self esteem, create and maintain authentic connection with peers, and improve their communication, while building their capacities to find their innate value and create good lives – individually and collectively!

rcadd - rockland council on alcoholism and other drug dependence

High School

 Botvin Life Skills Training, grades 9-10 (Evidence-Based Program

A 10-week program tailored to High School students, aimed at skill-building to prevent substance use. Topics include the Value of Good Health, Decision-Making for Health, Risk Taking and Substance Abuse, Managing Stress and Other Emotions, Family Communications, and Healthy Relationships.

rcadd - rockland council on alcoholism and other drug dependence - life skills image





  • Community life 
  • Supportive relationships outside the home (coaches, teachers, etc.) 
  • Pro-Social peer group (teams, clubs, etc.) 
  • Child’s involvement in religious youth activities 
  • Child’s involvement in pro-social activities 
  • Child is close to an adult outside the family 
  • A reasonably safe, stable environment


  • Strong and affectionate relationships with both parents 
  • Strong and affectionate relationships with family members 
  • Strong and affectionate relationships with other significant adults 
  • Recognition and praise 
  • Parental interest 
  • Involvement in education 
  • Stability and security in family life 
  • Parental supervision 
  • Child’s attachment to parent 
  • Parent’s attachment to child 
  • Parent’s involvement in child’s activities


  • Active involvement in school 
  • Access to high quality early education 
  • Commitment to school 
  • Attachment to teachers 
  • Aspirations to go to college 
  • Parent’s expectation for child to go to college 
  • Parent’s values about school

Peer Group and Individual

  • Resilient temperament 
  • Autonomy 
  • Comprising a sense of identity 
  • Achievement 
  • Self-awareness 
  • Independence 
  • Self-Motivation 
  • Peers have conventional values 
  • Parent’s positive evaluation of peers 
  • Child’s self esteem 
  • Child is close to an adult outside the family 
  • Good impulse control 
  • Strong sense of self-worth 
  • Sense of personal control

Risk factors are characteristics (biological, psychological, family, community, and cultural) that precede and are associated with a higher likelihood of negative outcomes. Protective factors are characteristics associated with a lower likelihood of negative outcomes or that reduce a risk factor’s impact

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RCADD Fact Cards

Teen Brain Development


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