The guide, launched online by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, (NIDA), offers research-based principles that
affect a child’s self-control and overall mental health, starting during pregnancy through the eighth year of life. It
recognizes that while substance use generally begins during the teen years, it has known biological, psychological,
social, and environmental roots that begin even before birth.
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.