Why is Early Childhood Important to Substance Use Prevention?

Abundant research in psychology, human development, and other fields has shown that events and circumstances early in peoples’ lives influence future decisions, life events, and life circumstances—or what is called the life course trajectory. People who use substances typically begin doing so during adolescence or young adulthood, but the ground may be prepared for substance use much earlier, by circumstances and events that affect the child during the first several years of life and even before birth.