Risk Focused Prevention
Risk-focused prevention is based on a simple premise: To prevent a problem from happening,
we need to identify the factors that increase the risk of that problem developing and then
Data from the CTC Youth Survey can be used to help school and community prevention
planners identify current levels of problem behaviors and the precursors (risk and
protective factors) to those behaviors. By focusing prevention efforts on identified
precursors, prevention planners can implement specific types of interventions that have
been effective in either reducing the identified risk(s) or enhancing the identified
protection(s) and evaluate their effectiveness. The following steps will help your school
building, district, and community to make these essential decisions.
1. What should I look for in the numbers?
Look for levels of drug use which are increasing or unacceptably high.
Look for levels of antisocial behaviors which are increasing or unacceptably high.
Look for levels of risk(s) which are increasing or unacceptably high.
Look for levels of protection which are decreasing or unacceptably low.
2. How do I decide if a number is unacceptable?
Compare your data with county, statewide, and national data - differences of 5%
between local and other data are probably significant.
Look at your data over time - rates which have been steadily increasing are probably
Determine the values held within your community - is it acceptable in your community for 75% of high school students to believe that it is easy to obtain alcohol (for example).
3. How do I decide which intervention(s) to employ?
Programs should be selected based on the risk factors that are high in your community
and the protective factors which are low.
Programs should be age appropriate and employed prior to the onset of the problem
4. How do I determine the effectiveness of the intervention?
Participation in the annual administration of the survey provides prevention planners with
trend data necessary for determining the effectiveness of the implemented intervention(s)
and also provides data for determining additional efforts which may be needed.