Prevention & Education 

The use of drugs at an early age increases the risk of developing an addiction and substance use disorder. A person’s brain is still developing until approximately age 25, which is why substance use can have life-long effects on brain development and ability to become a productive and successful adult. Preventing substance use through evidence-based education and policies can save people from a lifetime of substance use disorder. Programs and policies that focus on prevention are very cost effective - implementing evidence-based interventions can have a benefit of more than $58 for every dollar spent, according to a 2016 report from the U.S. Surgeon General.

Why Education Matters

Becoming educated about opioids can prevent substance use disorder and reducing stigma can encourage people with a substance use disorder to seek help and work toward recovery. Equipping youth with life skills to make positive choices and teaching the consequences of substance use is a very important part of substance use prevention.

Reducing Stigma

When individuals who have a substance use disorder are faced with discrimination and prejudice due to a lack of understanding about the disease, the stigma may cause them to feel isolated and may discourage them from seeking help and moving towards recovery. Stigma can also impact how health professionals treat patients. Learn how language can reduce stigma (PDF), or visit the Shatterproof website to learn more about how to end stigma.

Join a Community Coalition

The Prevention Leadership Team (PLT) is a countywide coalition, bringing together partners working to reduce youth substance use. The coalition meets once a month. Four sub-committees including data committee, policy committee, communications committee, and school committee, also meet once a month.

Resources for Schools

View local and other resources available for classroom education, including life skills, social and emotional learning, and substance use prevention. Additionally, learn more about Reality Illinois, an after school leadership group for students.

Resources for Parents

Parents have a strong influence on a young person’s decision to avoid substance use and play an important role in prevention. View various resources parents can use to prevent substance use.