Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Prevention Approaches

Some substance abuse prevention interventions are designed to help individuals develop the intentions and skills to act in a healthy manner. Others focus on creating an environment that supports healthy behavior.

Research tells us that the most effective prevention interventions are those that incorporate both these approaches. In other words, it's not enough to just convince a teenager that underage drinking is harmful or provide her with the skills to resist peer pressure; you also need to make it difficult for him to obtain the alcohol in the first place—by training liquor store clerks to check identification and enforcing laws that penalize merchants who sell to underage patrons.

This section of the site offers an overview of interventions that target the individual, as well as strategies that target the environment, including:

The success of any selected strategy or combination of strategies depends on strong collaboration among schools, law enforcement, parents, and other community members.

Developed under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies contract (Reference #HHSS277200800004C).