Prevention works. There are lives on the line.

Types of

Primary Prevention

Like the name implies, Primary prevention is the first type of prevention possible – it occurs before the problem occurs. For example, a primary care physician could encourage a busy single-mother to find healthy coping mechanisms for her stress, or a school counselor could serve as a safe place for a troubled student to confide. Primary prevention is all about spreading awareness, establishing trust, and stopping a problem before it begins.

Secondary Prevention

Secondary prevention occurs at the earliest signs of a Substance Use Disorder. An example of this may be an individual confiding in his doctor at his annual physical that he’s worried he drinks too much. From that point, providers would ask the following, tested questions to decide whether intervention is necessary:

  1. Do you feel like you should cut back on drinking or using substances?
  2. Do you feel bad or guilty about your drinking or substance use?
  3. Have you ever had a drink or other substance first thing in the morning?

These questions followed by open-ending conversation can help the provider assess the extent of the potential problem.

Tertiary Prevention

In some situations, an individual may need to be referred to further assessment and treatment. If a primary care doctor or other health care provider is made aware of a reliance on substances or substance-related health problems, they would then refer the individual or loved one to the appropriate treatment facility.

Risk Factors

Substance Use Disorder doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone, but there are certain factors that can affect the likelihood of developing it.

Family History

Substance Use Disorder can run in families. People who have a blood relative with SUD are more likely to develop it themselves.

Mental Health Disorder

Individuals with anxiety, depression, PTSD, or another mental health disorder have a higher risk for developing SUD.


Peer pressure from friends can have a huge impact on someone starting to use and misuse substances.

Family Dynamics

Substance Use Disorder can run in families. People who have a blood Lack of a bond with someone’s parent, guardian, or sibling can increase the risk of SUD.

Early Usage

The earlier someone uses a substance, the more likely it is to cause changes in their brain development that could lead to a SUD.

Types of Substance

Some substances – like opioids or stimulants – can result in faster dependency. In addition, the method of using drugs can impact the risk level.