Drug Abuse BLOG

What is Primary Prevention of Substance Abuse?

Drug abuse can be prevented at three levels –

(i) Primary

(ii) Secondary

(iii) Tertiary

What is Primary Prevention?


Primary prevention aims at preventing the initiation of substance abuse or delaying the age of initiation.

Primary prevention, by far, has been known to be the best strategy to control substance abuse and a number of countries across the globe have adopted different types of strategies for preventing drug use at the primary level. The chief goals of primary prevention are:

    • Targeting young people before they start using or experimenting with substances.
    • Discouraging or terminating drug use among those who have already experimented with or used substances.

What is Secondary Prevention?

The secondary prevention programs target those individuals who have already started using substances. This program aims at controlling the degree of damage to the individual by preventing substance use from becoming a problem.

What is Tertiary Prevention?

Tertiary prevention programs are sometimes referred to as rehabilitation and relapse prevention. This form of prevention program aims at making the individual drug free thereby minimizing the problems associated with its use. It strives to enable the individual to attain and maintain improved levels of functioning and health.

Types of Primary Prevention

    A successful primary prevention program should be comprehensive. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical and social well- being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity.” This definition includes all factors that affect health.

    The health promotion concept is used while dealing with substance abuse. This concept implies that people have the capacity to influence their own health and quality of life when empowered with appropriate knowledge and skills. This has an effect on their decision making and they can adopt corrective measures to improve their own health as well as that of the community.


    The government, communities, and others should find effective primary preventive approaches to reach out to as many people as possible and help them in making healthy choices.

    Does Drug Testing Prevent Substance Abuse?

    Drug testing can be applied at all levels of prevention. Drug screening not only serves as a way to deter drug use, it can also monitor compliance with sobriety programs throughout the course of secondary and tertiary prevention.

    Remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”