Who Are Prevention Practitioners?

There are many resources available in Canada, based on current and meaningful evidence, aimed at reducing substance abuse amongst our youth. These resources come in many forms (e.g., quality standards for substance abuse prevention, technical documents, checklists, tool kits, modules, and more) and should be evidence informed and evaluated to ensure their efficacy and reliability — and they do exist!

What remains a point of confusion in the field of prevention, though, is who these resources are for? Who is the end user of these products? If you asked me, I would tell you they are for prevention practitioners — parents, police officers, physicians, clinicians, school guidance counsellors, community centre workers, etc. However, if we polled this population and asked the question “do you consider yourself a prevention practitioner?” many of them would answer no.

There seems to be some ambiguity about who or what a prevention practitioners is. The language surrounding job titles will influence the job itself. For example, calling someone a prevention worker might portray negativity in the eyes of the youth that the individual works with — are they someone in need of a prevention workers assistance?

• In your opinion, who or what are prevention practitioners?
• If you work in the field of substance abuse prevention, what title would you self-assign? Do you relate to the term prevention practitioner?