Prevention is broadly related to the avoidance or alleviation of problems related to substance use. Due to this non-strict definition, attempts at prevention can have different goals. For example, the goal of efforts to prevent the use of illegal drugs is to stop incidents of their use. One way or another, an additional goal of such activities may be to minimize the effects of the use of illegal drugs, which is taking place. If so, then the approaches chosen for the implementation of the intended goals may be different. Therefore, when it comes to the prevention of drug use, it is important to clarify what exactly is being prevented: onset of use, repeated use, negative impact on society, health problems, or something else.
Prevention of substance abuse is traditionally divided into three stages. The first is primary prevention, which is the avoidance of drug abuse before an abuse at all has a chance to occur. For example, one of the goals of such prophylaxis would be to prevent the initial use of a substance. Without ever starting a drug use, you will not have any problems with it. At the core of this approach is the principle “Just Say No”, when, especially young people, a drug is offered. Another goal of primary prevention may be to develop a responsible attitude and / or a culture of substance use. The best example of this is a responsible drinking attitude. Numerous advertising posters and television programs should pay more attention to the fact that you can not get behind the wheel while intoxicated or allow drunken friends to get behind the wheel.
Secondary prophylaxis deals with already started abuse. This type of prophylaxis is similar to early treatment, when drug problems only surfaced. Secondary prophylaxis is often used by the legal system responsible for the misuse of substances. For example, a person arrested for drunk driving may be sent to special courses, training on which should prevent a repetition of the situation. In some parts of the United States, this is the case with juvenile offenders detained for drug possession. In both cases, emphasis is placed on the problem nip in the bud. Central to such efforts is the early detection of such problems.
The third form of prevention, which is called tertiary, is the treatment of people who already fully use drugs and are completely dependent on them. Its purpose is to stop drug use and avoid further deterioration in the human body. Tertiary prevention and treatment of drug addiction are the same, but prevention is usually said when the incident happens for the first time, and treatment when relapses occur. In the remainder of this chapter, we focus our attention on primary and secondary prevention.