What Is Prevention & Why Is It Important?

With respect to human services, prevention typically consists of methods or activities that seek to reduce or deter specific or predictable problems, protect the current state of well-being, or promote desired outcomes or behaviors.

Prevention is defined as interventions that occur prior to the onset of a disorder that is intended to prevent or reduce the risk for the disorder.  Prevention is a part of a broader health promotion effort, based on the knowledge that addiction is a primary, progressive, chronic, and fatal disease.  As such, it focuses on creating population-level changes, within the cultural context, in order to reduce risks and strengthen the ability to cope with adversity.

Building coordinated prevention efforts through collaboration with state agencies, community organizations, and special populations offer multiple strategies, provides multiple points of access, and allows for coordination to expand citizen participation in community activity as a most promising approaching to preventing alcohol and other drug problems and youth-related violence.  A comprehensive approach to a particular problem or behavior is an effective way to achieve the desired permanent behavior or normative change.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the best ways to prevent opioid overdose deaths are to improve opioid prescribing, reduce exposure to opioids, prevent misuse, and treat opioid use disorder.

Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane, Arkansas Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Dr. John Kirtley, and other local experts say that education is one of the key elements to the prevention of opioid abuse and/or misuse.

“Who is to blame for the Opioid Epidemic?” Dr. Kirtley asks. “Everyone wants us to point the blame to doctors, drug companies, or others, but EVERYONE is to blame for this crisis.”

Dr. Kirtley says recognizing we are all to blame is a key component to educating the public about the epidemic (how we got here & why it is ongoing) and key to ending the epidemic.


Prevention Works AR is a source of Arkansas drug and alcohol abuse data, tools and available resources offered by the Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS), Arkansas Department of Human Services and MidSOUTH Center for Prevention and Training. We support data dissemination and prevention outreach efforts of the Arkansas State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup and Arkansas Archival Risk Factors. This workgroup provides a forum for the policymakers, researchers and community representatives to have a data-driven exchange of ideas in order to effectively and efficiently utilize prevention resources.

AFMC serves as the analytic and advisory agent on the workgroup, which includes members from the Arkansas Department of Health, regional prevention providers, Arkansas Department of EducationUniversity of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, tobacco coalitions, alcohol coalitions, schools and colleges, and other invited members of the community. The resources provided by DBHS and AFMC allow community members to make data-driven decisions for effective preventive programs in their communities.

In order to sustain that coordinated effort, the prevention section of the Division of Behavioral Health Services funds:

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