What is Prevention?
Alcohol and other drug abuse has significant impacts on our country and local communities – it is estimated that the abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs costs our country more than $740 billion annually related to crime, lost work productivity, and health care. (Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse)
The goal of prevention programs, strategies, and policies is to stop unhealthy behaviors before they begin or work to mitigate their impact on the individual, family, and community. Prevention works “upstream” – determining what contributes to people experiencing behavioral health issues and working to mitigate those upstream factors.
The Athena Forum from the Washington State Health Care Authority provides prevention information and a searchable database of evidence-based prevention strategies.
What We’re Doing
The Snohomish County Alcohol and Other Drugs Risk & Resilience Program is dedicated to putting strategies and practices into action that are proven to significantly reduce risk factors and increase protective factors for children, youth, and families in Snohomish County.
Examples of the strategies and programs funded through Snohomish County Human Services Behavioral Health include:
- Student Support Advocate Program
- Trauma-Informed Practices in Schools Consultation
- Strengthening Families Program 10-14
- Nurse Family Partnership
- Evidence-based early prevention and parenting programming, such as The Incredible Years & Parenting Wisely
What You Can Do
If you want to focus your attention on local solutions, or just want to find out what’s happening to prevent underage drinking and other drug use in your community, consider contacting one of these coalitions:
- Connect Casino Road
- Darrington Prevention Intervention Community Coalition
- Granite Falls Community Coalition
- Marysville Together!
- Sky Valley Youth Coalition
- Monroe Community Coalition
If you just want to focus on your kids, you should know that the relationship you have with your kids is the most powerful influence in their life. In fact, you have more influence over your child than friends, music, television, the Internet, and celebrities. Research has demonstrated that family bonding and family monitoring are incredibly influential in supporting youth to make healthy choices.
Parents continue to be the most influential voices in their child’s life. Check out a few of these websites that can give you some excellent insight and coaching around starting these important conversations:
Not all prevention strategies are created equal. Unfortunately, many common strategies being used by well-meaning parents, schools, and communities across the country have been shown by careful research to be ineffective, or even to cause harm. Knowing what works, and what doesn’t, is critical to promoting healthy lifestyle choices.
For further information on what works and what doesn’t in prevention, access the Washington State Health Care Authority Prevention Tools: What Works, What Doesn’t guide created by Joe Neigel from the Monroe Community Coalition.