PTTC Post Article - August 2022

Prevention is Good Business

By Cele Fichter-DeSando, MPM



Evidence-based substance use prevention is effective in saving lives, reducing health care costs, and increasing benefits for individuals, families, communities, and society at large (Miller, 2008). Cost-benefit studies regarding prevention indicate that every dollar spent on substance use prevention can result in ten dollars of long-term savings. The cost savings include both direct dollar benefits and indirect benefits such as lower crime rates, increased productivity and employment, decreased accidents, and improved overall life expectancy (Dezarn, 2019). More than 30 years of prevention research have given us information on the factors and processes that lead to substance misuse and substance use disorders along with evidence-based interventions and strategies to be implemented (Fishbein &Sloboda, 2022). The evidence is clear, prevention is good business.

Leading with Prevention

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines prevention as evidence-based actions taken to delay the initial use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, and to prevent substance misuse in order to promote healthy behaviors. Ongoing research, a well-developed workforce, and sustained funding are necessary components of prevention programming. Prevention includes identifying the conditions, behaviors, and/or disorders to be prevented and the delivery of evidence-informed programs and policies. The Opioid Policy Brief outlines a plan for increasing prevention and intervention capacity and programming.
The plan incorporates 6 components (Fishbein and Sloboda, 2022) :

  1. Broad and systematic investment in evidence-based prevention programs
  2. Building a comprehensive, integrated substance use delivery system to scale-up and -out, and sustain evidence-based programming.
  3. Broadening and strengthening public health policies
  4. Investment in prevention research
  5. Enhancing state and national epidemiologic monitoring and surveillance systems
  6. Assist with collaborative data sharing

Building System Capacity: Prevention Thought Leaders

In January 2020, The Opioid Response Network (ORN) hosted the Prevention Thought Leaders Meeting to convene leaders in the prevention field. Subject matter professionals, consultants, and national prevention leaders were included in the meeting and joined participants from a variety of organizations including The ORN Leadership Team, the National Prevention Network (NPN), the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) leadership team, and National Advisory Board, and the Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network.

The Meeting organizers produced a Prevention Thought Leaders Meeting Proceedings Report which provides detailed information about participants, goals, meeting outcomes, and challenges and opportunities facing the prevention workforce. The goals and action steps included in the report are designed to serve as a stepping stone in the path toward strengthening the prevention workforce and its response to the opioid epidemic.

During the two-day meeting, participants were asked to brainstorm about the challenges and considerations critical for the prevention field. Seven points were identified to serve as starting points for discussion and future planning.

  • Workforce development (credentialing, training, and career path)
  • Relationship between research and practice
  • Creating a business model for prevention
  • Building systems capacity
  • Advocacy prevention and funding
  • Culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate workforce
  • Prevention marketing and messaging

Next Steps

The ORN Prevention Stakeholders group developed a strategic plan for addressing the themes identified in the Thought Leaders Meeting. The strategic plan called for the development of a business model for prevention that would focus on building systems capacity, training the prevention workforce in business components, and developing a model for sustainability.

Coalition Business Administration Training

In response to the Thought Leaders Meeting and the ORN Prevention Stakeholders Group Strategic Plan, PTTC Network and CADCA have created a Coalition Business Administration Training . The Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) recognizes the need for strong leaders in the prevention sector. To support this, the PTTC has partnered with CADCA to create a new training and certificate program: Coalition Business Administration. The program is aimed at individuals working in prevention with aspirations to move to a leadership level and those in leadership without a business degree who are looking to advance their knowledge.

The subject matter for the training covers a wide variety of topics related to business and administration of prevention coalitions such as branding, accounting, management styles, grant writing, and nonprofit development. The training takes place over the course of a year and upon completion, participants will receive a certificate in Coalition Business Administration from CADCA. The intensive training is designed to support a prevention career path that includes leadership growth, professional advancement, and retention. Providing training in business administration for the prevention workforce increases the knowledge of business administration necessary to maintain consistent funding for programming, advocacy, collaboration, and staffing.


Research demonstrates that building prevention infrastructure; activating federal, state, local, and tribal stakeholders; ensuring collaboration; and helping communities select, implement, and sustain evidence-based interventions is possible and can be done effectively (SAMHSA, 2016). The Surgeon General’s Report PREVENTION PROGRAMS AND POLICIES - Facing Addiction in America emphasizes the importance of educating and raising awareness about the public health concerns related to substance misuse and the effective program and policy interventions available for preventing and reducing substance use across the population. SAMHSA has developed the Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center to provide communities, clinicians, policy-makers, and others in the field with the information and tools they need to incorporate evidence-based practices into their communities or clinical settings. The Resource Center contains a collection of scientifically-based resources for a broad range of audiences, including Treatment Improvement Protocols, toolkits, resource guides, clinical practice guidelines, and other science-based resources. Training and developing the prevention workforce, implementing evidence-based practices, advocating for sustainable funding, and supporting ongoing research are all components of the business of prevention. Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network can help you get more involved in the business of prevention with connection, information, and training. Get connected by viewing Recent News across the Network. Get informed about Products and Resources that you can use to improve services. Get Trained by searching the Training and Events Calendar of upcoming events and training to find the one that fits your needs.


Cele Fichter-DeSando, MPM
CFD Consulting, LLC
[email protected]


Castillo, P. & Taylor, G. (2020, January). ORN Prevention Thought Leaders Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.

Dezarn, A. (2019). The Power of Substance Use Disorder Prevention: Why Invest In Prevention? North Carolina Training and Technical Assistance Center (NCTTA) Research Brief 

Fishbein, D. & Sloboda, Z., 2022 Comprehensive National Strategy to Prevent Opioid Use Disorder by Leveraging Empirical Evidence from Prevention Science. Office of National Drug Control Policy  Opioid Policy Brief 2022.

Miller, T. and Hendrie, D. Substance Abuse Prevention Dollars and Cents: A Cost-Benefit Analysis, DHHS Pub. No. (SMA) 07-4298. Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2008.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2019). Substance Misuse Prevention for Young Adults. Publication No. PEP19-PL-Guide-1 Rockville, MD: National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); Office of the Surgeon General (US). Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health [Internet]. Washington (DC): US Department of Health and Human Services; 2016 Nov. CHAPTER 3, PREVENTION PROGRAMS AND POLICIES. Available from:

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