Primary Prevention


Our purpose is to prevent alcohol and other drug harm in Australia – and to see true change in this area, we know that primary prevention is key.

Primary Prevention

Primary prevention addresses the causes of diseases or harm within communities. This includes strategies to protect people from developing alcohol or other drug related problems.

We know there are both risk and protective factors that influence the likelihood of harm from alcohol or other drugs. Risk factors include:

  • unemployment
  • having a high sense of disconnection from other people
  • trauma
  • poor mental health and lack of hope;
  • combined with the availability and peer use of drugs

Protective factors include:

  • the development of recreational activities, like sport and hobbies
  • positive relationships with parents, family members and other role models
  • being engaged in a school or community environment and;
  • spiritual beliefs

These can all help limit or minimise exposure to risky behaviour around alcohol and other drugs. With this in mind, at the ADF we prioritise work to build safe, healthy and resilient communities with low prevalence of risk factors and high prevalence of protective factors.

Secondary Prevention

Secondary prevention promotes safety for those who have already used alcohol or other drugs and is directed towards people who have a higher or specific risk of serious harms. For the ADF this might include:

  • initiatives aimed at young people who have been exposed to drug-taking behaviour (e.g. drug-checking at music festivals);
  • targeting cohorts at risk of developing prescription medication dependency (e.g. live monitoring of pharmaceutical drug prescriptions)

Tertiary prevention

The goal of tertiary prevention is to help people with ongoing alcohol or other drug problems, and any resulting health conditions, overcome them or improve their quality of life.

Though tertiary prevention isn’t an area of focus for the ADF, we do refer people to treatment providers, advocate for drug consumption rooms to reduce drug use and associated risks, and advocate for the distribution of anti-overdose medications like naloxone.

As an organisation we are focused on primary prevention for the long term, and we will continue to engage with organisations delivering secondary and tertiary prevention measures to minimise harm in the short term.