What is prevention science?

Do you know what Prevention Science is?

The partners of Freemind and ISSUP Brasil, Rodrigo Flaire – State Coordinator of Drug Policies of São Paulo – and Claudemir dos Santos – Technical Director of Prevention of COED-SP, in this video, explain and give examples of what is and how prevention science can be used to make decisions based on scientific evidence. Here's what they say:

Science is a branch of knowledge of empirical* nature, logical and systematic, in which it is possible to validate and demonstrate the data and results, with methodology.

In the science of prevention, despite a knowledge of an empirical nature, a methodology is respected and the results are proven.

So science escapes from "achismo", from simple assumptions and is based on validated data that can really be proven. So how is the link between science and prevention science done?

The science of prevention is a set of several studies and scientific findings that have been validated for actually working and that shows us what knowledge is needed to build truly effective prevention initiatives.

The science of prevention takes great account of the study of epidemiology and etiology.

Epidemiology is one of the studies aimed – in the human population – to understand the spread of diseases, evolution, what are the determinants and how often they present themselves in society.

Etiology seeks to understand the causes and origins of this problem. This is very important because it helps the science of prevention to understand what are the risk factors and protective factors associated with substance use.

Logically, the science of prevention is linked to the prevention of any type of disease, whether mental or behavioral, in general.

Protective factors can be biopsychosocial and environmental factors.

Prevention science seeks to understand which prevention and protection initiatives can have large-scale impact, outcome and effectiveness.

So, this is a challenging subject: when we talk about prevention science, we are talking about science, drug use prevention and abuse and we have a relationship with many bases: we have to talk about psychology, medicine, social sciences, services, social, education, economics, public health and others.

Thus, the science of prevention is a very complex and systemic science too much with these medical relationships and these social relationships.

It is important to respect this perspective of science, to respect the methodologies for making decisions.

One of the great objectives of prevention science and influence programs and public policies. We can't make decisions based on achismos. Decisions need to be made according to scientific evidence.

One of the most common examples is that the science of prevention has already been able to demonstrate that it does not take former users to talk, giving their testimony and their life story to children and adolescents. This attitude, more than generating a fear or a revulsion for use and abuse, generates a curiosity. This has an iatrogenic effect - an effect contrary to what was desired. This has already been proven!

We have to understand what the evidence is, what the methodologies are and what the results of our actions are. The science of prevention is here for this: to generate data and influence, mainly, new programs and public policies.

We follow this challenge: Always prevent!

* For science, empirical is a kind of initial evidence to prove some scientific methods, the first step is observation, to then do a research, which is the scientific method. In science, much research is carried out initially through observation and experience.