Universal, Selective and Indicated Evidence-Based Substance Use Prevention with Wellness



Prevention Plus Wellness, LLC provides evidence-based and evidence-informed programs, campaigns and parent tools that can be used as universal, selective and indicated substance use prevention strategies that also promote physically active and healthy lifestyles among youth and adults.


Universal prevention refers to approaches designed for an entire population without regard to individual risk factors.  Selective prevention is when strategies are targeted to one or more subgroups of a population determined to be at risk for substance abuse.  Indicated prevention is when interventions are aimed at individuals showing signs of substance abuse or problems.


Evidence-based refers to programs that have been evaluated and proven to result in positive outcomes.  Evidence-informed refers to programs and tools that are adopted from or founded upon evidence-based programs, models and related research.


The following article provides evidence-based and evidence-informed examples of each of these three types of prevention.

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Universal Prevention


Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) provides five universal substance use prevention with wellness programs designed for all youth and young adult populations.  Because of their brevity (1-6 lessons) they are feasible for implementation in nearly any setting where young people are located.


Two universal prevention with wellness programs are evidence-based, including the:


  • SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness screening and brief intervention in versions for older adolescents, young adolescents, and children, and now also in an e-learning format as the SPORT PPW Online Program; and the
  • InShape Prevention Plus Wellness screening and brief intervention for college students and young adults.


Three universal prevention with wellness programs are evidence-informed, including the:


SPORT 2 six-lesson program in editions for older adolescents and young adolescents, the

SPORT Marijuana Awareness Program, and the

In God’s Image three-lesson program for faith-based settings.



Another universal evidence-informed tool linking prevention and education with health and fitness promotion is the Marijuana Awareness Media Campaign.


The ready-to-implement Marijuana Awareness Media Campaign from Prevention Plus Wellness is designed to correct myths, misconceptions and norms about marijuana use, increase awareness of marijuana harm, media influences and laws, improve knowledge of how to identify signs of use, provide positive youth and adult role models, enhance positive self-identity, increase youth self-regulation skills to set healthy behavior goals, and develop protective wellness lifestyles.


In addition to the above listed programs for use by prevention and health professionals, PPW offers the Parent Pep Talks Programs for professionals and parents.


The Parent Pep Talks Program is an easy to use prevention with wellness program for parents and guardians who want to promote active, healthy, successful, and substance-abuse free lifestyles among their youth.


Selective Prevention


None of the programs developed by Prevention Plus Wellness were originally designed for subgroups of youth at greater risk for substance abuse.


That said, one study evaluating the SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program among older adolescents found that youth who already were using drugs and who received SPORT PPW showed larger substance use effect sizes than those not already using drugs, even a year after intervention.


Specifically, published results indicated that one-year after intervention, substance using youth receiving SPORT PPW showed significant:


  • reductions in binge drinking,
  • reductions in frequency of cigarette smoking,
  • reductions in marijuana use,
  • reductions in the initiation of cigarette use,
  • reductions in initiation of marijuana use,
  • increases in vigorous exercise, and
  • increases in moderate physical activity.


These findings suggest that the SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program, and perhaps other PPW strategies like InShape PPW, hold promise as selective interventions for high risk or drug using young people that could produce positive effects even larger and greater lasting than those produced among general youth populations.

depression in Aspergers teens

Indicated Prevention


Prevention Plus Wellness provides two evidence-informed programs that were designed for subgroups showing signs of substance abuse or problems.  These programs may be used as indicated prevention interventions, but as the names imply can also be implemented to individuals in substance abuse treatment and recovery.


The indicated prevention with wellness programs include the:



These practical prevention with wellness interventions were adopted from the evidence-based SPORT and InShape PPW programs for youth and adult populations, respectively.  They were created specifically for youth and adults suffering from substance abuse both within and outside of treatment settings.




Prevention Plus Wellness evidence-based and evidence-informed programs can be used among general populations of all youth and young adults as universal prevention and education strategies that also promote fitness and health-enhancing behaviors.


More recently, two PPW programs were adopted for use among substance abusing youth and adults as indicated prevention with wellness interventions, or those individuals in substance abuse treatment or recovery.


Lastly, research suggests that PPW programs may be efficacious as selective prevention with wellness strategies among young people at greater risk for experiencing substance abuse, such as those already using drugs.

For a variety of free resources and videos showing how to link substance use prevention with fitness and health promotion, go to: http://preventionpluswellness.com, or call us: 904-472-5022


Please share this important information with others in your area and state.  Thank you!

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