How can communities get ahead of substance misuse?

Prevention efforts address the root causes leading to substance misuse, so communities can reduce substance misuse before it starts. Substance misuse prevention aims to increase the factors which protect youth and decrease the factors which harm youth.

What substances are we talking about?

Resources and information on a wide variety of topics are available in our resource collection. The focus of prevention is often to reduce misuse of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and prescription drugs because these are typically the most prevalent issues.

Communities prioritize which of these to address based on their specific, local needs. Get started with a data factsheet specific to your Minnesota county from Substance Use in Minnesota.

What role can I play in these efforts?

Almost everyone has a unique connection or life experience that makes them a valuable contributor to substance misuse prevention efforts. ​Whether you wish to participate as a professional or a volunteer, you are needed to make this work successful.

Find out how to connect with prevention work happening near you.

How do I get started?

Find out if a coordinated prevention effort is happening near you.

Whether a prevention effort in your area is new or ongoing, it is most effective when specific community needs are identified. This is done by locating, collecting, and reviewing data to determine your focus. Curated data for your community is accessible on the Substance Use in Minnesota website. This robust tool allows you to search by topic, location, or demographic.

It’s also easy to find help in your region. Your Regional Prevention Coordinator is here to help you get started and guide you through the process.

You can also learn the basics in one of our prevention skills trainings!

How is treatment different from prevention?

Substance misuse treatment plays an important role in helping people to stop using drugs or alcohol. Prevention takes a broader look at a community as a whole and addresses the root causes which lead to substance misuse.

If you are looking for or are in need of treatment resources, visit Fast-Tracker. Fast-Tracker is a virtual community and health care connection resource with a real-time, searchable directory of mental health and substance use disorder resources.

What is public health and how does it relate to prevention?

Public health focuses on the general public, as opposed to individuals. Public health is about creating an environment which promotes health and reduces harms for an entire population.

This approach is used to prevent substance misuse because community environments influence individual behavior. By making community-wide changes, we can reduce the likelihood of substance misuse for more people and sustain the positive impact for future generations.

What role does education about substances and their effects play in substance misuse prevention?

Education is one of several methods that can be used to help prevent substance misuse. However, it is rarely effective on its own and some forms of education are actually counter-productive .

Do I need funding to do this work?

Prevention efforts can be accomplished through organizational collaborations, in-kind donations, volunteer time, and other non-financial means. It is also possible to find funding which supports coordination of the effort, specific initiatives, supplies, training, and/or other needs.

​Find help for creating collaborations, identifying your development needs, and learning about funding opportunities here.