Prevention strategies for alcohol and other drugs are aimed at preventing their use in the case of illegal drugs, or harmful use in the case of alcohol and pharmaceutical medications. Harm reduction strategies are a useful complementary approach to reduce injury or death from drug use in the hope that the individual will seek treatment and other support at some stage.

Alcohol and other drug prevention refers to various mechanisms used to prevent harm associated with alcohol and other drug use in the community.

Examples of prevention mechanisms include:

  • informing people about the effects and the harms associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs
  • changing laws and regulations that govern sales of alcohol and tobacco
  • providing positive role modelling of alcohol and other drug use
  • helping people to reduce stress in their lives
  • developing safe environments that reduce the risk of harmful use.

Harm reduction approaches aim to reduce the negative consequences associated with alcohol and other drug use and reduce other related risk factors. Examples of harm reduction mechanisms include:

  • needle and syringe programs
  • drug treatment programs
  • opioid substitute programs.