The World Health Organization (WHO) promotes a public health approach to substance abuse prevention that focuses on reducing the demand for drugs, as well as controlling the supply of drugs. The WHO recommends a range of evidence-based prevention strategies that can be implemented at different levels, including:
Universal prevention: This involves implementing prevention strategies that target the entire population, such as public education campaigns, school-based prevention programs, and community-based interventions.
Selective prevention: This involves targeting specific populations that are at higher risk for substance abuse, such as youth, people with mental health problems, and people in the criminal justice system.
Indicated prevention: This involves targeting individuals who are already showing signs of substance abuse or addiction, such as through early screening and brief interventions.
The WHO also emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive approach to substance abuse prevention that addresses the underlying social, economic, and environmental factors that contribute to substance abuse. This includes strategies to reduce poverty, improve access to education and employment, and promote healthy communities and environments.
Overall, the WHO’s approach to substance abuse prevention highlights the need for a multi-sectoral and collaborative response that involves governments, civil society, and other stakeholders working together to address the complex and interrelated issues associated with substance abuse.