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About Building Blocks for a Healthy Future

Building Blocks for a Healthy Future is an early childhood substance abuse prevention initiative developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The materials and the website, which are designed for parents, caregivers, and educators of children ages 3 to 6, are based on six protective steps identified by SAMHSA and the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Each of these steps helps protect children against the behaviors and situations that can increase their later risk of substance abuse. The site also includes information about "risk factors" that make some children more susceptible to drug use.

Building Blocks encourages family bonding and communication as the bedrock of prevention. One objective of the initiative is to help parents and other caring adults establish positive and open lines of communication while children are young. If children are comfortable discussing problems with their families at this age, they may be more likely to seek advice on more difficult choices—such as underage drinking—when they are older.

Building Blocks also offers tips for parents and educators on creating safe, supportive, and nurturing environments at home and school. Children learn best when they are surrounded by clear and consistent messages about good behaviors and healthy decisions.

SAMHSA considers Building Blocks as just one tool that adults can use in promoting a mentally healthy and drug-free life for children. Accordingly, SAMHSA maintains and supports other initiatives that can help reduce children's risk. Learn more about SAMHSA and the research and programs it supports.

To obtain SAMHSA's materials and publications, please visit the SAMHSA Store. For more information about Building Blocks for a Healthy Future or to share your comments, please send an e-mail to Building Blocks.

Sign up for the Building Blocks Bulletin. It will provide you with highlights of what's new on the website. The update will be sent directly to your e-mail address on a regular basis.

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Updated on 5/21/2014