Preventing Addiction

Our primary goal is to prevent substance use and addiction from ever happening in the first place. Here are some proven tools and techniques.

Develop Resiliency

Resilience is the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.

Being resilient does not mean that a person doesn’t experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common in people who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress.

Resilience is a protective factor in avoiding substance misuse, including opioid addiction. To learn more about how to foster resilience, visit

To find resources that help foster resilience in children, visit

Talk with Youth

Talking with youth about how to make safe, smart choices about drugs and alcohol is important. However, sometimes adults forget to also address the risks of prescription drug use.

Parents and other caregivers have an important role to play in helping youth avoid both prescription and street drugs. Almost 50% of young people who use heroin started with prescription drug abuse, and over 40% of teens who misused a prescription drug got it from their parent’s medicine cabinet.[1]

While just over two-thirds of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in Snohomish County think that prescription drug misuse carries great risk of harm, nearly one in 10 believes it to have little to no risk.[2]

Make sure your children understand that prescription medications are only meant to be taken by the person whose name is on the bottle, and only following a doctor’s instructions. Age-specific tips on how to talk to youth about prescription drugs (as well as other drugs and alcohol) is available from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

[1] Opioid Medication & Pain Fact Sheet Washington Health Alliance & The Bree Collaborative

[2] 2016 Healthy Youth Survey results for Snohomish County, all grades

Talk with Your Health Care Provider

Opioid-based medications can be very useful for pain management—especially for the severe pain that someone may experience directly after surgery. However, medications such as Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin are very powerful and can be deadly. Even if taken as directed, any opioid-based medication can have serious side effects such as addiction and overdose.

Fortunately, there are safer and less-addictive options to manage pain which patients should feel comfortable discussing with their provider. For short-term pain that will likely only last a week or two, it is always best to start with non-opioid pain treatments.

Opioids can help to control pain at first, but they are usually not necessary. Instead, consider other options that may work just as well but have far fewer risks. These can include over-the-counter pain relievers, physical therapy, exercise, and professional help coping with the emotional effects of pain.

Visit or call 844-633-7765 to learn more.

Safely Store Medications

When you do have medications in your home—whether they are prescribed or over-the-counter—please have them locked up.  Below are a few examples on how you can keep your medications out of the wrong hands.

Medical Lock Bags

The sturdy nylon material and standard keyed locking system reduces abuse and aids in the diversion of prescription drugs.  Although it’s not cut proof, it’s easy to detect if someone is trying to get access to your medication.

Medicine Lock Box
There are many different models and sizes to choose from, so you can select a lock box that will fit your specific needs. The entire box can then be stored out of reach of children.

Medicine Lock Bottle

Medicine lock bottles use a digit combination locking cap that can be used on the lock bottle or right on your existing prescription bottles. You choose the combination and set the lock.  Individual bottles that are locked are convenient for travel and quick access.

Take Back Your Meds

Keeping unused, unwanted and expired prescription drugs in your home poses a risk to you, your family and your community.  Improper disposal may lead to illegal use and may also contaminate our waters. In Snohomish County there is an easy, secure and responsible way to properly dispose of these drugs.