Office of National Drug Control Policy

A Comprehensive Approach to Drug Prevention

Preventing drug use before it begins is the most cost-effective, common-sense approach to promoting safe and healthy communities. Research shows an association between drug use and traffic crash deaths, lost productivity and poorer academic performance. Illicit drug use also contributes to HIV-transmission rates and puts children at risk for abuse and neglect. If we can prevent substance use and dependence before it ever begins, we can save lives and cut costs related to healthcare and criminal justice. Learn more about prevention in the National Strategy.

Substance Abuse Prevention

Young people deserve every opportunity to live up to their full potential and exposure to effective drug prevention messages helps their chances. Federal resources totaling $1.7 billion are requested in FY 2012 to support education and outreach programs aimed at preventing the initiation of drug use. This represents a nearly 8 percent increase ($123.0 million) over the FY 2010 enacted level. Here are some ongoing prevention programs and activities:

Prevention Campaigns

Drug-Free Communities Support Program

This Federal grant program provides funding to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent youth substance use.  Based on the idea that local drug problems require local solutions, the program has funded over 1,750 coalitions and currently mobilizes nearly 9,000 community volunteers across the country. Learn more about the Drug-Free Communities Support Program.

Additional Resources

Although some of the risk factors that increase a young person’s chances of using drugs are similar to other behavioral problems, many risk factors are unique to drug use (such as access to drugs and/or favorable attitudes toward drug use)These resources provide information on evidence-based drug prevention strategies: