A Child's First Eight Years Critical for Substance Abuse Prevention
"Thanks to more than three decades of research into what makes a young child able to cope with life's inevitable stresses, we now have unique opportunities to intervene very early in life to prevent substance use disorders," says NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, MD. "We now know that early intervention can set the stage for more positive self-regulation as children prepare for their school years."
Principles of Substance Abuse Prevention for Early Childhood addresses the major influences on a child's early development such as lack of school readiness skills, insecure attachment issues, and signs of uncontrolled aggression in childhood behaviors. Special attention is given to a child's most vulnerable periods during sensitive transitions, such as a parents' divorce, moving to a new home, or starting school. There is strong evidence that a stable home environment, adequate nutrition, physical and cognitive stimulation, and supportive parenting can lead to good developmental outcomes.
Two supplemental sections for policymakers and practitioners go into greater detail on how early childhood interventions are designed and how to select the right strategies for a community's specific needs. "This guide is important reading for anyone who has an influence over a child's life, from early development through the transition to elementary school," adds Volkow.
Principles of Substance Abuse Prevention for Early Childhood is the fourth in a series of evidence-based principles produced by NIDA. The guide concludes with a list of selected resources with information on research-based early childhood drug use prevention programs.