Last updated: February 15, 2019
Topic: Food
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Levels of Prevention


I.         Introduction

Health becomes everyone concerns since it influence our today’s activities. People who get sick will likely not feel up to do any activities and therefore reduce their effectiveness. This is the underlying reason why we witness growing number of nutrition supplement in recent days. The aims of such growth are to give our bodies additional synthetic foods to replace the natural ones that we should take but do not have time for it.

According to one report, the foods supplement business is increasing every year. BASF, for example, one of the world’s biggest food supplement producer, aims to make their health and nutrition businesses as their largest revenue contributors are reasonable. This is because health care will grows rapidly in the coming years and the fact that people concern upon the rise of medical treatment costs.

According to one research, U.S. functional food sales by the late 1980s were $2.5 billion with more than 10 percent of annual growth. In 1992, the sales recorded $5.29 billion in 1992 and reached about $8 billion by 1995. Sales of herbal supplements (such as garlic and ginseng) rose 70 percent in supermarkets alone in 1993, and have become the second fastest-growing category in dollar sales for food and drugstores combined (“BASF Outlines Growth”). Interestingly, amidst the fast growing in supplement foods market, regulators and many traditional health care providers continue their skepticism over the benefits of naturally occurring nutrients.

Since cure takes lots of money and time, today people understand the need to take preventive instead of curative actions. In this paper, we will describe the levels of prevention, which are primary, secondary, and tertiary for health screening on elderly abuse especially related to drug abuse. In addition, we will also address the comprehensive health program consisting of three levels of prevention, which are primary, secondary and tertiary.
II.        Levels of Prevention
Lower Mainland Project Steering Committee, British Columbia Mental Health Society, defines the three levels of prevention as following:
1.      Primary Care
Primary care deals with preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic health care provided by general practitioners and other health care providers. This kind of care usually conducted by the patient by visiting private offices or clinics in the community outside a hospital


2.      Secondary Care

Secondary care deals with preventive, diagnostics and therapeutic health care usually done so by physicians and other health care providers that involved many health disciplines. In contrast to primary care, which does not need referral, secondary care requires referral from a primary care source.

In this situation, secondary care can only conducted by the ill patient or already a hospital patient. For example, most services provided in acute care hospitals are at the secondary care level.
3.      Tertiary Care

Tertiary care is care without the provision of secondary care due to regional service deficiencies (Guidelines).

III.       Levels of Prevention in a Community Experiencing Increasing Levels of Drug and Alcohol Use that Lead to Family Violence
The goal of a large number of criminal acts is to obtain as much as profit for the individual or group that carries out the act. Just like bribery, piracy, and robbery, elderly drug and alcohol abuse that leads to family violence also have similar intention that is to benefit the criminals.

Dr. Arnold M. Washton, Director of the Addiction Research and Treatment Center in New York, says that the most dramatic increase in drug use has occurred since the 1960’s, a time of radical change in political and social beliefs, lifestyles and more (Washton).

Furthermore, in 1980’s we recognize that we are paying a very high price for the casual attitude towards drugs that developed in the 1960’s. For this reason, we realize the need to carry out specific actions in order to reduce the demand for drugs and alcohol. Approach to drug and alcohol abuse in elderly people can be conducted in three levels of prevention: primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention strategies.

Develop prevention of alcohol and drug use disorders that common leads to family violence should be at a primary level. In this manner, improved screening instruments and diagnostic criteria for older people should pay more attention on the more subtle yet damaging effects of drug and alcohol use disorders on different aspects of health.

Secondary prevention strategies relate to attention to old people whose drinking pattern may put them on physical or psychological health at risk. In addition, the tertiary prevention can be done similarly to secondary level without referral due to service deficiencies.

In addition, effective drug abuse prevention must address the most basic and fundamental forces that promote drug taking in our society. This composes of two main categories: supply and demand.


Reducing Supply

Reducing the supply of illicit drugs and alcohol beverages is an obvious way of curtailing use. The widespread availability and abundant supplies of many different types of powerful mood-altering substances and alcohol beverages makes it easier for our citizens to become involved in drug and alcohol beverages use. People are more likely to try drugs and alcohol when they are huge supply around them.

To counter the supply problem, we must continue to enforce and strengthen our laws against the manufacture, sale, and possession of drugs. We must also take a firmer stand against drug-producing countries that receive American foreign aid. Although enforcement efforts are necessary to check abuse, they cannot prevent the problem by themselves.


Reducing Demand

Prevention of drug and alcohol use in the United States must focus intensively on the problem of demand. The cultural forces that encourage and perpetuate drug use in our society must be eliminated. We must recognize that drugs and alcohol have become a part of American life and that prevention cannot occur unless social attitudes toward drug and alcohol use change as well.

Changing social attitudes toward drugs is a difficult undertaking, but not an impossible one. The message that drug and alcohol use is unacceptable, unhealthy, and unnecessary must be communicated in a credible and consistent manner by the family, schools, media, business community, medical and legal experts, politicians, professional athletes, and other public figures (Washton). This initiative is one example of primary prevention.

The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport coordinates Dutch policy on drugs, for example are done so to make a distinction between cannabis and hard drugs (e.g. heroin, cocaine and synthetic drugs), based on the different health risks.


IV       Is prevention cost effective?

In order to assess whether prevention is cost efficient, we should employ PF line of the production possibility frontier (PPF) since the line illustrates the efficient frontier of what can be produced in an economy given technological constraints and other factors such as population, skills, resources, and institutional structure.

Figure 1          Typical PPF for the United States



Source: Chapter 2: Scarcity and Modeling” The Focus and Methodology of Economics. Retrieved March 23, 2005 from



In case that new technique for screening was developed that were cheaper and more effective, the slope in the above graph will shift to the right. It means that the U.S. can produce more medical examination. However, even if an economy is on its production-possibilities frontier, it may not be economically efficient.

Not all points on the production-possibilities frontier have the same value. Hence, to be economically efficient, an economy must find that point on the production-possibilities frontier or that mix of products that have the highest value. This final condition of economically efficiency may be called product-mix efficiency.

BASF outlines growth strategy in major markets. Chemical Market Reporter; 14 August 2000.
Chapter 2: Scarcity and Modeling The Focus and Methodology of Economics. Retrieved March 22, 2005 from

Guidelines for Elderly Mental Health Care Planning for Best Practices for Health Authorities. Retrieved March 22, 2005 from

O’Connel, Henry, Ai-Vryn Chin, Conal Cunningham, Brian Lawlor. 2003. Alcohol use Disorders in Elderly People – Redefining an Age Oled Problem on Old Age. Retrieved March 22, 2005 from

Piana, Valentino. 2003. Costs. Economics Web Institute. Retrieved March 22, 2005 from

Washton, Arnold M. Drug Abuse, Drug Trafficking, and Organized Crime. Retrieved March 22, 2005 from