About Prevention

What is Prevention?

Substance abuse prevention is actively working prior to the onset of a disorder to prevent substance use or abuse, limit the development of problems associated with substance use or abuse, and reduce the risk of developing a behavioral health problem. Prevention efforts help our community avoid the dangers of using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Healthy Natrona and our partners approach to prevention is to gather and use data to guide prevention decisions specific to community needs. This means working with diverse community partners to choose culturally appropriate, effective, sustainable, evidence-based strategies according to the needs of the community, and to work with individuals who are passionate and knowledgeable about both their communities and prevention to reduce the risk of alcohol and other drug-related problems throughout Natrona County.

Prevention Vs. Treatment

Substance abuse prevention is actively working prior to the onset of a disorder to prevent substance use or abuse. Prevention is an important part of the behavioral health continuum of care model, a comprehensive approach to behavioral health that recognizes multiple opportunities for addressing behavioral health problems and disorders. Each component presents opportunities for addressing behavioral health problems and for collaborating across sectors. Based on the Mental Health Intervention Spectrum, first introduced in a 1994 Institute of Medicine report, the model includes the following components:

  • Promotion – Strategies designed to create environments and conditions that support behavioral health and the ability for individuals to withstand challenges. Promotion strategies also reinforce the entire continuum of behavioral health services.
  • Prevention – Delivered prior to the onset of a disorder, these interventions are intended to prevent or reduce the risk of developing a behavioral health problem, such as underage alcohol use.
  • Treatment – These services are for people diagnosed with a substance use or other behavioral health disorder.
  • Recovery – These services support individuals’ abilities to live productive lives in the community and can often help with abstinence.

The Substance Abuse Prevention Program works in both the Promotion and Prevention realms.

Risk and Protective Factors

Research over the past two decades has tried to determine how substance use begins and how it progresses. Many factors can add to a person’s risk for substance abuse. Risk factors can increase a person’s chances for substance abuse, while protective factors can reduce the risk (NIDA, 2013). People have biological and psychological characteristics that can make them vulnerable or resilient to substance abuse problems. These characteristics are classified either as a protective factor or a risk factor (SAMHSA, 2015).

  • Protective Factor: a characteristic at the biological, psychological, family, or community (including peers and culture) level that is associated with a lower likelihood of problem outcomes or that reduces the negative impact of a risk factor on problem outcomes. Protective factors might include: belief in a moral order, religion, family, social skills, and community connectedness.
  • Risk Factor: a characteristic that is biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precedes and is associated with a higher likelihood of problem outcome. Risk factors might include: academic failure, perceived risk of substance use, rebelliousness, parents attitude favors substance use, family conflict, friends use of substances, and sensation seeking.

Through the Wyoming Prevention Needs Assessment (PNA), the Wyoming Department of Health measures a wide variety of attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions that have been shown to be related to alcohol, tobacco, and drug use along with violent and problem behaviors.

Strategic Prevention Framework

The Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) is a planning process for preventing substance use and misuse developed by SAMHSA. The SAPP uses SPF model to fund evidence-based prevention activities on both a statewide and community level.

All funded communities implement the SPF public health model in their prevention efforts. The model assists community coalitions in engaging in data-driven strategic planning. This comprehensive and integrated approach is achieved through partnerships with law enforcement, community resource centers, and other valuable stakeholders.

The five steps and two guiding principles of the SPF offer a comprehensive process for addressing the substance misuse and related behavioral health problems facing communities.

Step 1: Assess Needs – Identify pressing substance use and related problems and their contributing factors, and assess community resources and readiness to address these factors, and assess community resources and readiness to address these factors.

Step 2: Build Capacity – Identify resources and build readiness to address substance use and misuse.

Step 3: Plan – Form a plan for addressing priority problems and achieving prevention goals.

Step 4: Implement – Deliver evidence-based interventions.

Step 5: Evaluate – Quantify the challenges and successes of implementing a prevention program.

The framework is guided by the following principles:

Cultural Competence – The ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures to ensure the needs of all community members are addressed.

Sustainability – Sustain prevention outcomes by building stakeholder support for your program, showing and sharing results, and obtaining steady funding.

prevention model