Principles of Substance Abuse Prevention for Early Childhood (2 credit hours)

Program Summary:  This course examines how early childhood prevention interventions can help reduce substance abuse as well as other mental, emotional, and behavior problems.  The course looks at intervention efforts that aim to reduce risk factors and promote protective factors for young children.  The course offers 7 principles of substance abuse prevention for early childhood.  The first and overarching principle proposes that “intervening early in childhood can alter the life course trajectory in a positive direction.”

This course is recommended for social workers, counselors, and therapists and is appropriate for beginning and intermediate levels of practice.  

Course Reading:  Principles of Substance Abuse Prevention for Early Childhood:  A Research-Based Guide

Publisher:  National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health

Find the reading at:

Course Objectives:  To enhance professional practice, values, skills, and knowledge by identifying key issues related to substance abuse prevention efforts for children.

Learning Objectives:  Describe the term ‘synaptic plasticity’.  Describe the relationship between vulnerability and critical life transitions.  Identify important protective factors that can offset risk factors.

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1: For questions 1-2, please refer to the Introduction.  Synaptic plasticity makes early childhood ______________ to experiences and environmental influences.
2: After about age _____________, the brain undergoes progressive pruning of unused synaptic connections and reinforcement of major circuits.
3: For questions 3-10, please refer to Chapter 1.   Although vulnerability can occur at many points along the life course, it tends to peak
4: Transitions can represent
5: Plasticity refers to the brain's ability to
6: The brain remains plastic to some degree
7: Epigenetics is the study of
8: Which of the following best describes brain development?
9: Which of the following processes would be the last to finish developing in the brain?
10: The environment exerts its greatest proportional impact in
11: For questions 11-19, please refer to Chapter 2.   An important goal of prevention is to
12: Which of the following is an example of temperament?
13: Which of the following best describes attachment?
14: All children experience stress at some point, and in fact chronic stress helps young children develop skills for meeting challenges and coping with setbacks that inevitably occur in life.
15: Children are less likely to smoke, drink alcohol, or use other drugs when parents are clear that they do not want their children to do so.
16: Anxiety disorders and impulse-control disorders begin their onset prior to
17: Which of the following best describes resilience?
18: Which protective factors may be especially important during the infancy and toddler developmental period?
19: Which of the following would be an example of an internal protective factor?
20: For questions 20-24, please refer to Chapter 3.  Early intrapersonal interventions can have long term effects on
21: Early school/work interventions can have long term effects on
22: Which of the following is the most important proximal environment for young children?
23: Which of the following best describes universal interventions?
24: Which of the following best describes selective interventions?

In order to purchase or take this course, you will need to log in. If you do not have an account, you will need to register for a free account.

After you log in, a link will appear here that will allow you to purchase this course.


Free State Social Work, LLC, provider #1235, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Free State Social Work, LLC maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 9/6/2021 - 9/6/2024. Social workers completing this course receive 2 continuing education credits.

Free State Social Work has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP NO. 6605. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Free State Social Work is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

G.M. Rydberg-Cox, MSW, LSCSW is the Continuing Education Director at Free State Social Work and responsible for the development of this course.  She received her Masters of Social Work in 1996 from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois-Chicago and she has over 20 years of experience.  She has lived and worked as a social worker in Chicago, Boston, and Kansas City.  She currently practices in the area of hospital/medical social work.  The reading materials for this course were developed by another organization.