The healthcare tier in the United States exists in three tiers, including tier one (primary), tier 2 (secondary), and tier 3 (tertiary). The services offered at each level of these preventive programs are distinct regarding content, target population, and design (Sowers et al., 2020). Exceptionally, primary prevention starts before the onset of the disease and aims to reduce the age or ultimately prevent symptom manifestation. Ideally, primary prevention aims to minimize any occurrence of new cases (Sowers et al., 2020). For example, in the case of drug and alcohol abuse, the role of primary programs focuses on policies, public education, and advocacy. The rules and regulations, such as not selling psychotropic substances to children, help delay the use. Similarly, going to school and giving the facts about drugs to discourage use is a primary preventive strategy as it protects those without firsthand experience with substances.
Secondary prevention is about early identification of the disease and treatment to prevent its progression. If the screening and assessment indicate that a patient has already developed a problem, they are introduced to curative facilities (Ranidu 2018). In the context of substance use, an example of secondary prevention is admission to the rehabilitation center, where a person can receive services such as detoxification, psychoeducation, alcoholic (narcotic) anonymous, and psychological counseling to make sure there is a good prognosis and preventing the substance from being a burden to significant others.
The tertiary prevention programs provide the patient with more intense care. The main aim of such services is to prevent disability or dependencies from the complications of the disease (Sowers et al., 2020). For example, a person who has already developed dependency can be helped through treatment and detox so they do not develop liver cirrhosis. The focus of helping the individual abstain from drugs is to attain and maintain higher levels of functioning after being negatively affected by the addiction.
Ranidu. (2018). Difference between primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare. Compare the Difference Between Similar Terms. Web.
Sowers, W. E., Ranz, J. M., & Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry. (2020). Seeking value: Balancing cost and quality in psychiatric care. American Psychiatric Pub.