Information on Substance Abuse Prevention & Education Programs

Created On Tuesday, 12, January 2016
Modified On Friday, 01, October 2021


At Drug Rehab Services, we provide a service that there’s a serious need for. As a resource for drug and alcohol treatment services and information about addiction, we hope to save lives before they’re lost. Substance abuse is a scourge that has affected many individuals, causing countless deaths and shattering the lives of many it touches. Even those who recover have often incurred losses and damages that can make recovery more difficult; one of the tragic qualities of addiction.

Sadly, there’s a greater demand for substance abuse treatment services than there is a supply, leaving many people without help each year. This alone highlights the need for such services and drives us to do what we do each day; repair the damages caused by addiction and help people get their lives back.

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But this effort would be incomplete without addressing the source of the problem, rather than outcome alone. That is the essence of prevention.

Substance abuse prevention is the road out from an unending epidemic. Addiction has become a defining feature of America and a leading cause of death. Prevention consists of concerted efforts aimed at eliminating the factors that lead to and cause addiction. With prevention, treatment becomes unnecessary. We aim to reach that goal one day.

Historically, we can safely say that prevention efforts have fallen short. This is clear from the current state of addiction in our country. Scare tactics and “just say no” campaigns may have meant well but may have also worsened a blossoming issue. Heavy penalties don’t discourage addiction any more than the in-school programs of the 1990s did. So, what will?

We don’t claim to have a magic bullet. But we believe that providing accurate and true information is the best starting point. Every individual makes their own choices and is better equipped to do so when armed with facts instead of falsehoods. We strive continually to be and reliable source of information that anyone can use.

On this page you will find:

  • Personalized advice and frequently asked questions- These are real answers from treatment professionals to real questions that many people have posed to us over our cumulative years of experience. We draw upon many different backgrounds and give straightforward answers to some of the most commonly asked questions from those struggling with addiction and their loved ones.   
  • Comprehensive information on drugs- We tackle some of the most commonly abused substances in America, providing an unrivaled source of information on each.  This can help with everything from the identification of drugs and drug abuse, to specific treatment interventions and further resources.  
  • Listing of prevention resources- Here you can find further resources for substance abuse prevention. 

Who Are You?

I’m a parent looking for more information for myself

This a picture of two adults on a laptop

Battling substance abuse is already hard enough. Doing bit as a parent can feel impossible. But anyone can recover the life they once had before addiction.

Stigma can be one of the biggest barriers for a parent. People have a tendency to feel unworthy of help or that they are a bad person because they have a child and are also struggling with addiction. But this can become a downward spiral rapidly if they won’t reach out for help and keep it hidden.

If you’re struggling with addiction as a parent, the worst thing you can do is keep hiding it. Children must be protected as a priority, so this isn’t advising anyone to expose them to drug use or tell them what you’re going through. But you must reach out to a family member or close friend and get help as soon as possible.

Never buy into the mentality that you can’t go to treatment because you won’t be there to take care of your child. Anyone struggling with addiction wasn’t completely there to begin with. There are always solutions for childcare and rehabilitation that allows for you to still see them. This can become an excuse for people that perpetually prevents them from getting on the road to a better life. Don’t let that happen to you. Every minute your addiction continues is time away from them.

I’m a parent looking for more information for my child

This is a picture of a father talking to his son

As a parent with limited or no experience with addiction, it can be overwhelming to be in need of treatment for a child that’s struggling. This need usually springs from a crisis or sudden discovery that your child is abusing substances. That fact alone can be a lot to digest, but there isn’t time to panic. Addiction is roulette, and people die every day when its left untreated. But not everyone knows for sure that their child is using drugs. As is frequently the case, the parent will strongly suspect addiction without having any real evidence of drug use. And when it comes to suspecting your child is using drugs, this intuition is nearly always correct. No one begins suspecting such a thing without observing signs and symptoms beforehand. And no one wants to believe that their child is struggling with addiction.

Once it’s established that your child is abusing substances, treatment is necessary. There’s no point in listening to excuses about how it won’t happen again, or that this was the first time, etc. If you’re seeing the signs and find them using drugs, they’re at risk and need help now. If you observe signs of substance abuse but haven’t “caught” them using, don’t wait. You never know how you might finally find out. Confront them about your suspicions and intervene.

I’m a young adult looking for more information for a friend

This is a picture of a group of young friends talking to each other

This can be a tricky situation. When our close friend is potentially abusing substances, the last thing we want to do is push them away. Then, it becomes impossible to help them.

Many people also fear doing nothing and appearing like they approve of or are okay with the issue. No one wants to stand by and watch someone they care about kill themselves. But there are solutions to the dilemma, and they start with communication.

If your friend is attempting to keep their drug use hidden or denying it, you can certainly intervene and discuss the situation with them. After all, there’s usually a better chance they’ll tell you than a family member. Perhaps, they admit to addiction but refuse to change. Or, if you think it won’t go well, or you try and they keep lying or denying the obvious, you may need to recruit help.

Going to their family may feel like a betrayal, but it's not. If you care enough about the person to help this much, never doubt your intentions. It's not about getting them “in trouble”. It’s about saving their life. Their family may have the capability to convince them or orchestrate an intervention.

I’m a young adult looking for more information for myself

This is a picture of a young girl which different types of drugs around her face

Although the situation may seem dire, the good news is that you have options. As a young adult, the time to address the issue of substance abuse and put it behind you is now. Most patients in treatment are young adults.

A common mistake that people make when looking for treatment for the first time is to choose a program based upon convenience rather than effectiveness. For example, many people choose a program, that is nearest to their home out of convenience. But this offers no treatment advantage and instead is a potential liability. Anything that makes it easier for you to quit when times get tough can serve to weaken resolve during rehabilitation.

Sometimes people choose medication-maintenance programs because it allows them to continue their daily life without much interruption. But this illusion and the appeal of avoiding withdrawal can be particularly tempting for people addicted to opioids. The inherent flaw in medication-maintenance is that the person is still dependent on substances, so still incurs many of the risks and downsides of illicit drug abuse. Often, the lack of improvement in the quality of life leads people back to illegal drugs and eventually, rehabilitation that doesn’t use drugs to treat drug addiction.

Drug Education

When it comes to identifying drug use in a loved one, it helps to know about the different kinds of drugs that are commonly abused. Even those looking for help for themselves can benefit from knowing more about how the risks and dangers of drug abuse can affect them. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most commonly abused substances.


Alcohol is an extremely common drug of abuse. Because alcohol has a history of being treated differently than drugs, it’s important to make the distinction that alcohol is a drug. Being legal, or socially acceptable doesn’t change the nature of a compound, nor does the fact that it comes in a liquid form. Alcohol dependence is a serious, life-threatening condition that kills many Americans every year. Even the process of withdrawing from alcohol can be deadly and requires medical supervision, making it one of the most dangerous drugs in the world.

This is a picture of a glass of whiskey
This is a picture of a glass of wine.
This is a picture of a bottle of Vodka.


Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused substances in America. Once illegal in all states, marijuana has gained popularity and acceptance recently and become legal for medical and recreational use in many states. But this doesn’t mean that it cannot be abused in the same way that other legal substances like alcohol are. And while there’s much debate about the subject, it remains clear that abusing any substance opens the door to addiction and further drug use.

This is a picture of what marijuana looks like
This is a picture of what an indoor marijuana grow looks like
This is a picture of what indoor marijuana grow equipment looks like


Heroin is a drug that fell out of popularity until recently when the overprescribing of prescription opioids caused a nationwide addiction epidemic. This gave rise to a renewed demand for heroin, a cheaper and stronger drug than most prescriptions. Heroin addiction has now become so rampant in some regions that it's far easier to obtain than going through the process of seeing a doctor for pain. Perhaps that’s why it's practically become America’s drug of choice since the early 2000s. Heroin is extremely dangerous, causing overdose and killing many people every year.

This is a picture of what black tar heroin looks like
This is a picture of what heroin powder looks like
This is what cooked heroin looks like, and what the syringes used for heroin look like


Meth is an extremely powerful stimulant. A stimulant is any drug that increases alertness and activity in a person, speeding up their body’s systems. When ingested, meth can cause the user to feel extremely energetic and euphoric. These effects can last for several hours, causing the person to avoid food and sleep and continue to use the drug for days on end. Meth users can become delirious and paranoid, a state that occurs from the effects of the drug combined with lack of sleep. While it used to be uncommon with meth, overdose has become quite common as the drug’s potency and popularity have increased since America’s drug epidemic began.

This is a picture of methamphetamine
This is a picture of methamphetamine in pill form
This is a picture of Desoxyn, a methamphetamine medication

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs are a group of drugs that include anything available by prescription-only and manufactured by a pharmaceutical company. This includes some of the most commonly abused drugs in America, such as opioids, tranquilizers, and stimulants. Each of these drug work quite differently, but they all can cause severe addiction and death. For many people, illicit drug addiction begins with prescription drug abuse. Given the amount of drugs prescribed in the US each year, it's no wonder that addiction has become the problem it is today.

This is a picture of Hydrocodone, more specifically Vicodin
This a picture of 80 mg Oxycontin pills
This is a picture of 30 mg Codeine pills


Cocaine is another stimulant drug that’s seeing an increase in popularity. Cocaine abuse was extremely prevalent in America in the 1980s, leading to one of our nation’s first major drug epidemics. Since then, there’s been a continued appetite for the drug in the country, particularly those states along the southern border. Nearly all of the cocaine consumed in America is smuggled from the south, making its way to major cities rapidly.

This is a picture of cocaine powder
This a picture of cocaine in little bags
This is a picture of crack cocaine

Opioids and Opiates

Opioids are among the most commonly abused drugs in America. Opioids are a class of drugs that is very broad, including everything from heroin and fentanyl to prescription forms like Percocet and codeine. These drugs develop addiction and physical dependence rapidly and are the focal point of the largest addiction crisis we’ve ever known. Opioids are central nervous system depressants, meaning they slow down vital functions in the body. This is also how they kill, by slowing breathing until respiratory failure occurs. Sadly, opioids are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in America, illustrating why the problem of addiction exists.

This is a picture of heroin and fentanyl pills
This is a picture of hydrocodone pills
This is a picture of oxycontin pills


Benzodiazepines are a type of drug that’s commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia. These drugs work by slowing down the functioning of the brain, resulting in tranquility and sedation. These effects can make the user feel very relaxed and free from worries. Because of how powerful the feeling is, people who become addicted to benzodiazepines will seek them out at all costs. To make matters worse, getting off of benzodiazepines can be life-threatening and require medical supervision. This can make the user feel trapped with little or no options.

This is a picture of two Ativan 2mg pills
This is a picture of two Valium 10mg pills
This is a picture of two Xanax 1mg pills


Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid. Synthetic means that it is created artificially in a lab and doesn’t exist anywhere in nature. Fentanyl is many times stronger than heroin, making it one of the deadliest drugs in the world. Unless someone has built up a tolerance to opioids, almost any dose of fentanyl can be deadly. The drug is often added to poor quality heroin or other fillers to sell to unsuspecting people because it is often cheaper and easier to obtain than heroin.

This is a picture of heroin and fentanyl pills
This is a picture of fentanyl laced pills
This is a picture of fentanyl in a powder form


Inhalants are a group of drugs that exist in a gas or liquid state, and the fumes are inhaled to produce a “high”. These drugs are notorious for being extremely dangerous and causing death and bodily harm. Often, inhalants contain extremely toxic chemicals and cut off oxygen to the brain, causing damage when used. They are extremely popular among adolescents because inhalants are often everyday household cleaning products that young people have access to.


Marcel Gemme, DATS - Author

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.

Michael Leach, CCMA - Medically Reviewed on October 1, 2021

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Michael Leach is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, who has over 5 years of experience working in the field of addiction. He spent his career working under the board-certified Addictionologist Dr. Rohit Adi. His experience includes working with families during their loved one’s stay in treatment, helping those with substance abuse issues find treatment, and teaching life skills to patients in a recovery atmosphere. Though he has worked in many different areas of rehabilitation, the majority of his time was spent working one on one with patients who were actively withdrawing from drugs. Withdrawal and the fear of going through it is one biggest reason why an addict continues to use and can be the most difficult part of the rehabilitation process. His experience in the withdrawal atmosphere has taught him that regardless of what approach a person takes to get off drugs, there are always mental and emotional obstacles that need to be overcome. He believes having someone there to help a person through these obstacles can make all the difference during the withdrawal process.