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Introduction:  Starting Early


By Janet Firshein

Studies have shown that the earlier alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use begins, the greater the chances for an individual to become addicted to these substances. Thus, most addiction prevention programs are geared towards youth. Although the most recent data show that increases in young people's use of alcohol and other drugs may be leveling off, the overall trend in the '90s has been an upward one. The need to find effective strategies to stem potentially dangerous use of these substances by youth remains urgent.

A growing body of research makes it clear that there are effective ways to reduce teenaged or earlier use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs -- despite questionable outcomes, which have provoked skepticism, for some of the programs currently in use. Research has found that successful programs have several common characteristics.

The articles listed in the menu above discuss what works, what doesn’t, and what more we can do.

Prevention Menu:


Approaches That Work

Trends in Teen Drug Use

What Hasn't Worked

Who Is at Risk?

A New Government Initiative

The DARE Approach

        • Marc Schuckit, M.D.

Photo: © Michael Krasowitz/FPG International

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