The use of substances has been a very common practice amongst people in all cultures since the earliest times. But today the pattern of abuse as well as the nature of substances has changed considerably thereby affecting the consequences.
Newer substances are being found. The present day youth can also design drugs! But citizens like us, who have taken up the challenge to combat against this hydra headed monster, are also finding out better ways of reaching out to people and sensitizing them against the issue and the results have been quite rewarding.
Globally primary preventive activities are being adopted and implemented to control substance abuse. The approaches basically aim at reducing risk factors and strengthening protective factors at the individual and environmental levels. In order to make primary prevention effective the involvement of the government, communities and others is an absolute necessity.
The Individual Approach of primary prevention aims at imparting necessary knowledge and developing skills and resources which helps in bringing about a change in the attitude, beliefs and values of the individual. Peer Education has proved to be very effective since it involves young people both as receivers and providers of information.
Building social and personal/cognitive skills improves young people’s abilities to interact socially, clarifies values and enhances self awareness. Participation in group projects providing leadership opportunities, discussion of feelings, values and perception through role play motivate young people to resist social pressure and teach them skills like decision making, problem solving and goal setting. Developing vocational and livelihood skills can increase work opportunities and increase independence.
The Environmental Approach aims at developing positive social norms by providing a safe and supportive environment. Providing interesting recreational activities, participation in community service projects, etc. helps in social bonding which acts as a protective factor. Availability of adequate resources and referral system, involvement of key persons in the local community are prime factors in primary prevention.