Learning is the first step to playing your role in preventing substance misuse.
Drug misuse comes with a host of negative, short- and long-term effects. It can lead to lung cancer, psychosis, mental health issues, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, heart attack, overdose, and addiction. Addiction compels people to seek out drugs despite any negative consequences that might be incurred. As a disease, it hijacks the brain to create an intense craving for the addictive drug or behavior. That craving can override other thoughts and needs in the brain, including desires to care for an infant, build and maintain healthy relationships, work, have fun, take care of oneself, and protect oneself from harmful situations. It changes how you think and how you behave.
By contrast, prevention helps people develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to make healthy choices about drugs, and it aims to delay or completely avoid the misuse of drugs. It builds up you, your family, and your community so that all can thrive without the harmful effects of substance misuse. In fact, prevention has been touted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as the best strategy for addressing addiction.
Here, we’ve collected a variety of resources to help you understand prevention, addiction, various substances, and more. Each of these resources contains key information about its topic, references to high-quality research and reports, resources to support further learning, or more. You’re welcome to not only read them but to share them widely with friends, family, and members of your community.