New York State’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) defines prevention as a pro-active, research-based, data-driven process utilizing proven-effective strategies and programs to reduce or prevent alcohol and other drug abuse in individuals, families, and communities. Our approach to alcohol and substance abuse prevention, and the conceptual framework that supports it, have evolved over time. Both are based on emerging national research findings and the state’s experiences in program development, implementation, and evaluation.

Risk and protective factor-focused prevention is grounded in the public health approach to planning of using data-based predictors of problem behaviors and positive outcomes. To date, this prevention approach has produced the best research evidence that the risk and protective factors are predictive of youth problem behaviors.  Research on evidence-based model programs and practices has shown that reducing risk and increasing protection factors does lead to lower levels of youth problem behavior.  The problem behaviors include substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, school drop-out and violence.

Understanding and identifying risk and protective factors helps providers and communities understand what they can do to prevent problem behavior and promote healthy development among children, adolescents, and young adults. This allows providers to select the most appropriate evidence-based programs and strategies for their target populations to effectively achieve the outcome of reducing or avoiding substance use/abuse, by focusing their resources on reducing those risk factors specific to their community.

To learn more about our preventative programs, click any of the program titles above.