The best way to prevent an addiction to an illegal drug is not to take the drug at all. Use care when taking an addictive prescription drug. Your doctor may prescribe narcotics to relieve pain, benzodiazepines to relieve anxiety or insomnia, or barbiturates to relieve nervousness or irritation. Doctors prescribe these medications at safe doses and monitor their use so that you're not given too great a dose or for too long a time. If you feel you need to take more than the prescribed dose of a medication, talk to your doctor.

Preventing drug abuse in children

Take the following steps to help prevent drug abuse in your children:

  • Communicate. Talk to your children about the risks of drug use and abuse.
  • Listen. Be a good listener when your children talk about peer pressure, and be supportive of their efforts to resist it.
  • Set a good example. Don't abuse alcohol or addictive drugs. Children of parents who abuse drugs are at greater risk of drug addiction.
  • Strengthen the bond. Work on your relationship with your children. A strong, stable bond between you and your child will reduce your child's risk of using or abusing drugs.

Preventing a relapse

Once you've been addicted to a drug, you're at high risk of falling back into a pattern of addiction. If you do start using the drug, it's likely you'll lose control over its use again — even if you've had treatment and you haven't used the drug for some time.

  • Avoid high-risk situations. Don't go back to the neighborhood where you used to get your drugs. And stay away from your old drug crowd.
  • Get help immediately if you use the drug again. If you start using the drug again, talk to your doctor, your mental health provider or someone else who can help you right away.
  • Stick with your treatment plan. It may seem like you've recovered and you don't need to keep taking steps to stay drug-free. But don't stop seeing your psychotherapist, going to your support group meetings or taking prescribed medication. Your chances of staying drug-free are much higher if you continue treatment after you recover.
Oct. 01, 2011