Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention: Why Programs Work
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: May 7, 2020

Why feel the heartache when you suspect that your child is using drugs or alcohol? Why put yourself through even more of an emotional rollercoaster when you confirm your suspicions? To prevent children from using drugs or alcohol and possibly struggling with addiction, adolescent drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs may be helpful. These programs help educate young adults on the dangers of substance abuse. However, even if these prevention tactics don’t work, addiction treatment programs are available to help.

History of Prevention Programs

Adolescent drug and alcohol prevention programs began in the 1980s. The programs were supposed to help people understand when children use drugs and what makes them do it. The programs catered to appropriately aged children. They weren’t too young or too old—they were aimed at the age that most children started to drink or try drugs. It was the perfect time to expose them to drug and alcohol abuse education.


Iowa State and Penn State universities developed the PROSPER program—Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience-to deliver the drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs. PROSPER programs include both family-focused and school-based programs. In the family-focused programs, the instructors teach how to create and maintain healthy family relationships. In the school-based programs, the children learn how to be more assertive and handle problems with friends. This builds confidence, making the adolescents feel better about saying no to drugs or alcohol. The programs also teach parents how to communicate with their children. Another objective is to encourage parents to be more involved in their children’s lives. The instructors emphasize that parents should know who their children are with, where they are, and what they’re doing.

Studying the Prevention Programs

Researchers looked at 28 communities in Iowa and Pennsylvania delivering the PROSPER programs. The youngest children who took part were in the sixth grade. Their parents also participated. The children learned how to stay away from drugs and alcohol, but they and their parents learned how to build better relationships with each other. In the six years following program completion, researchers studied adolescents and their families. They found that there was a decline in meth, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol use. Also, the researchers determined that children who attend the programs in middle school are 65 percent less likely to abuse prescription drugs. There were more findings. The teens had gained life skills and were getting along better with their parents. Also, their behavior improved. These changes indirectly lower the risk of drug or alcohol use. Researchers believe that efforts of the prevention programs may do more than intended. If the programs cut down on drug and alcohol abuse, they will probably do the same for children misbehaving and having problems in school. Going through a prevention program doesn’t guarantee that adolescents will turn down drugs or alcohol. There are other factors that influence a child’s decision to use. But if these programs can do their part, addiction rates may decline.

Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention with Lakeview Health

Lakeview Health knows the importance of preventing adolescent drug and alcohol abuse. We provide family therapy programs and additional support for parents working through treatment to help prevent their own children from traveling down a similar path.

If you know someone who is struggling with drug abuse or addiction, contact Lakeview Health and our admissions coordinators to learn about the types of substance abuse programs available. Call [Direct] now to speak with a team member. You can also learn how our facility is responding to the current COVID-19 pandemic to keep our clients and staff safe.

We currently accept Aetna, Cigna, and United Healthcare. We do not currently accept Medicare, Medicaid, or Florida Blue.