Parent Alert | October 2023 | What is Prevention?

What is Prevention?

October is Substance Misuse and Youth Substance Use Prevention Month. This signifies the importance of communities coming together to work on prevention, but what is prevention? The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) defines prevention as “promoting the health and safety of individuals and communities by focusing on preventing or delaying the onset of behavioral health problems.” Prevention efforts can be focused on many different areas including substance misuse, suicide, and problem gambling. Wayne County Coalitions focus many of their efforts on preventing youth substance use, and they do that by implementing several different prevention services.

OhioMHAS defines prevention services as being “a planned sequence of culturally appropriate, science-driven strategies intended to facilitate attitude and behavior change for individuals and/or communities.” The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has outlined six strategies that can be considered as effective prevention: education, alternatives, problem ID and referral, information dissemination, environmental, and community based process. Wayne County Coalitions utilize multiple strategies to increase the effectiveness of their work. Some strategies they use include doing classroom presentations about substances, providing alternative activities for youth and families, collaborating with community partners and agencies, and publishing parent alerts like this one each month to provide information to the community.

Prevention is an important part of behavioral health because it addresses problems before they begin. Check out the resources below to learn more about prevention and how it works.

Resources

What to Know About Youth and Alcohol

Adolescence can be a scary time for many youth. They are dealing with puberty, homework, and social pressures. There is also a newfound sense of independence for many youth as they start participating in school dances, football games, and other activities with friends. This independence is a good thing because it helps youth learn important lessons that they can take into adulthood. The daily stressors from being an adolescent and more independence sometimes lead to youth making poor decisions such as the decision to drink. This can be a difficult topic for many parents to think about, but it is important that you are prepared to have a conversation with your youth about alcohol. Here are a couple of things to consider:First, you are a major influence in your youth’s life whether you think they are listening or not. Your attitudes towards alcohol use and your drinking patterns largely affect how your youth view alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has shared research showing that adolescents with parents who binge drink are more likely to binge drink themselves. This research also found that youth are more likely to misuse alcohol when their parents provide them with alcohol, have more favorable attitudes toward alcohol consumption, and engage in alcohol misuse themselves. Parents can prevent this from happening by talking to their children about alcohol and its risks, modeling responsible drinking behaviors if they choose to consume, and not making alcohol available for underage consumption.

Another thing to consider is how to identify if your child is drinking underage. The 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 5.9 million youth aged 12 to 20 had taken more than a few sips of alcohol in the past month, and 613,000 youth in the same age range reported binge drinking on five or more days in the past month. NIAAA shared some warning signs of underage drinking which include mood changes, problems in school, peer group changes, and less interest in activities or care in appearance. These warning signs do not confirm that your child is dr

inking underage, but they are important because they indicate that something is going on in your child’s life. If you suspect that your child might be using alcohol, please talk with your doctor, your child’s teachers or a trusted friend or counselor.

Underage drinking is a serious problem, but you can help by modeling responsible behaviors and talking to your youth about the choices they make. Visit the links below for more information on underage drinking, and how parents can help their youth avoid it.

Resources
 
 

 

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Copyright © 2023 Turning Point Coalition. All rights reserved.

This publication is developed in part under grant number SP020543-10 from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the Coalition and do not necessarily reflect those of ONDCP, SAMHSA, or HHS.

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