Prevention programs should enhance protective factors and reverse or reduce risk factors. To practice effective prevention, practitioners need to:

  • Understand substance misuse prevention within the larger context of behavioral health;
  • Apply SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), a five-step planning process framework designed to help states, tribes, jurisdictions, and communities more effectively understand and deliver effective prevention practices;
  • Incorporate epidemiology into prevention planning to help focus and refine prevention activities based on patterns of substance misuse, and related consequences; and
  • Apply prevention approaches that address those factors that contribute to or protect against identified problems, and that are a good match for the community.

Specifically to address substance abuse prevention it is recommended to identify efforts around CADCA's (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) seven strategies for community change:
1. Providing Information
2. Enhancing Skills
3. Providing Support
4. Enhancing Access/Reducing Barriers
5. Changing Consequences (Incentives/Disincentives)
6. Physical Design
7. Modifying/Changing Policies