Effective prevention

Young people have a tendency to engage in risky behaviours, including drug use. Various life circumstances are likely to either reinforce or mitigate such tendencies. The success of equipping the teenager with the ability to resist negative influences depends on the application of evidence-based methods.

A number of conditions increasing or decreasing the likelihood of risky behaviours have been defined. They are called protective factors and risk factors. The exposure to risk factors exacerbates young people’s problems; however, it does not mean that it will determine their fate. Similarly, protective factors do not guarantee that the individual will avoid unfavourable situations and increase his or her chances.

Risky behaviours

Risky behaviours include w whole range of behaviours in which the individual directly or indirectly threatens his or he life and health. It might include using drugs or other psychoactive substances such as alcohol, pharmaceuticals or legal highs. The examples of other risky behaviours might be as follows:

Protective factors

The following protective factors are known to prevent risky behaviours, including drug use:

Risk factors

The following protective factors are known to prevent risky behaviours, including drug use:

Prevention strategies

The success of preventive actions depends on the choice of strategies: primary and secondary ones.

Primary prevention strategies are those strategies whose implementation brings about the changes validated in the course of evaluation. Universal prevention offers the following strategies: work with parents (developing parenting skills), mentor support, developing life skills in children and adolescents, normative education and building relationship with the school (as well as other social institutions).

Secondary prevention strategies generate positive effects in combination with primary strategies. Applied independently generate mixed results and might sometimes cause iatrogenic effects and that is why it is recommended that they be combined with primary strategies. Secondary prevention strategies include: providing information, managing leisure time, teaching resistance to social pressure (refusal skills training), peer education and involvement of peer leaders.

Risky behaviours prevention in disabled individuals

In Poland, just like around the world, there is a shortage of systematic research into psychoactive substance use and addictions in individuals with intellectual disabilities, including adolescents with mild intellectual disability.

The existing scarce research shows that individuals with milt intellectual disability are in the high risk group. The same psychoactive substances are used in this group as in the general population. The research available also shows that prevention programme adapted to the needs of individuals with intellectual disability through simplified communication, application of visual stimuli and proper number, structure and duration of sessions are likely to increase the programme participants’ knowledge on the risk of using psychoactive substance and ultimately change their behaviour and reduce the amount of the psychoactive substance (ab)used.