Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Drug Abuse in North America

Primary Prevention in North America

CDS addresses the prevention of all drug abuse (including alcohol and tobacco) in the context of a wider health promotion strategy. Prevention programmes aim at long term normative change through concerted social marketing and education efforts. These include the enpowering of NGO's, individuals and communities (through self and mutual help programmes) to counteract drug merchants activities (U.N. 1990, HWC 1992b).

            Drug prevention programmes, based on research findings, target specific groups according to response needs in a continuum of risk and severity of developing drug related problems. Responses include health promotion, curriculum based educational programmes in schools and universities, mass media campaigns, community programmes and control of availability of the substances. There are also family-based prevention programmes whih aim to change parents' knowledge of, and attitudes towards, alcohol and other drugs; as well as generally improving parenting skills. Finally, prevention programmes seek to sensitizes health professionals to early identification and early intervention as well as effective treatment and rehabilitation (HWC 1992b).


A wide variety of prevention programmes make up part of the national drug abuse strategy. Educational programmes are widespread. Drug abuse related training is part of the education of professional groups such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, other health workers, social workers, teachers and law enforcement personnel. Parent education training is reported available upon request, and generally takes the form of technical assistance. Information on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation is distributed at the workplace. Civic groups, professional organizations, voluntary agencies, religious groups, sports clubs and law enforcement agencies are involved in the formulation and implementation of prevention programmes. Mass media are active in promoting drug prevention messages (U.N. 1992).