We mourn the death of George Floyd, killed by police. We mourn the death of Ahmaud Arbery, killed by prejudicial Whites for false suspicion of criminal activity while jogging through his own neighborhood.  We mourn the death of Breonna Taylor, killed by police in her own home. These cases amplify the reality that Blacks continue to be targeted across all sectors of our society for harassment, torture, mass incarceration and death due to explicit and implicit racism built into systems and mindsets. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, the NPSC will be producing fact sheets for wide dissemination. Our objective is to present what we know about structures and systems in our society that house racism through discriminatory practices and policies.  Research and evidence will support the content, followed by policy recommendations that flow from the logic. Click on the button below to view our work.


Preventing mental health disorders may be key to thwarting the opioid crisis

February 15, 2020

Although a healthy mix of both prevention and treatment has been recommended by scientific experts to tackle the opioid crisis, treatment has been vastly underfunded and prevention has been virtually ignored.

This is a call to action. It’s time to back policies that integrate evidence-based prevention practices into existing systems of care, ensure adequate training of the workforce, and provide access to services for those in need. A preventive approach secures help for individuals showing early signs of despair and perhaps keep thousands of people from sliding down the road to addiction. 

The U.S. Cannot Afford to Ignore Child Poverty

September 24, 2019

Childhood poverty threatens the emotional and physical development of children, the wellbeing of communities, and the economic health of our nation. This white paper outlines the evidence from prevention science that establishes the deleterious impact of child poverty in each of these contexts, and offers policy recommendations for significantly reducing childhood poverty at the national level.

The unanticipated consequences of vaping: Implications for policy

August 20, 2019

The NPSC has produced a science-informed policy statement on the vaping crisis, which is fast growing in this nation.  Increasingly, we are learning the hazards of vaping for millions of people, with particularly dire effects on child and adolescent development.  In addition to its physical effects on the cardiovascular and other systems, the data are now showing that it increases risk for use of combustible cigarettes as well as illicit drugs. We include policy recommendations that would restrict its use for youth, regulate producer’s marketing strategies, and more fully inform the public, including potential users and concerned parents.

Marijuana policies are changing, but they are not always based on scientific knowledge

July 03, 2019

Misconceptions regarding marijuana distort perceptions about its hazards and benefits. While marijuana remains on schedule 1 of the federal Controlled Substances Act, a number of state-level laws are changing the policy landscape. However, these changes are not always informed by decades of scientific knowledge. Formulating policies that are consistent with scientific evidence will greatly increase their effectiveness. Several policy recommendations are offered in the article for consideration.

Marijuana Policy Reform: What Does the Science Tell Us?

April 01, 2019

Members of the NPSC have developed a policy statement on Marijuana that can be distilled into four key messages.  In addition, several policy recommendations are offered.

  • Policies, including both those enacted in the past and many of those being rolled out in real time, are not responsive to existing knowledge. As a result, in states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, marijuana-related emergency room visits have significantly increased and the number of arrests and car crashes related to driving under the influence of marijuana are edging up. Also, adolescents are reporting perceptions that the drug is “safe” or at least not hazardous or addictive. It appears that policies are changing attitudes in an unintended direction.

  • Marijuana use in early adolescence is associated with more severe adverse consequences than onset later in adolescence or in adulthood.

  • There are grave risks involved with maintaining marijuana’s criminalization at all costs.Decriminalization has potential to bring its distribution and use “above ground”, reducing opportunities for gangs, violence, contaminated supplies, and other adverse consequences.

  • Medical research is unveiling several advantages to medicalizing marijuana, particularly CBD, a non-psychoactive component that may reduce pain, increase appetite, control seizures, and alleviate a variety of other ailments.Policy decisions regarding medicalized marijuana should not be swayed by outdated and inaccurate preconceptions.

Together, we packed a room to talk about solutions to #EndChildPoverty.

March 14, 2019

On March 14hth, First Focus and the NPSC co-hosted a congressional briefing where we examined key findings from a landmark consensus study on child poverty in the United States from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). This study involved analysis of the economic, health, and social costs of child poverty to our society, as well as the effectiveness of current anti-poverty programs--including international, federal, state, and local efforts--to reduce child poverty, issuing a set of evidence-based policy recommendations about how to cut the national child poverty rate in half within a decade.  Many thanks to our speakers--John K. Roman, Ph.D., Christine-James Brown, Dr. Benard Dreyer, and Dr. Angela Diaz MD, PhD--for sharing their insights with us.  Stay tuned for a full recording, supplemental materials, and progress in the coming weeks from lawmakers involving bills and ideas to implement some of the study's recommendations....

Preventing Human Trafficking Using Data-driven, Community-based Strategies

October 01, 2018

This policy brief was developed by the Research-to-Policy Collaboration with support from the Society for Community Research and Action and sponsored by the NPSC. Key points include:

1) Coordinated, community-based approaches that are customized to address a range of vulnerabilities across diverse groups may prevent human trafficking before it begins.

2) To succeed, prevention strategies require a data-driven approach that guides collective action across local agencies and institutions (e.g., law enforcement, housing, schools).
3) Raising awareness alone is not sufficient to prevent human trafficking. It must be used as part of a comprehensive prevention strategy rather than in isolation.

Check out the full article for specific recommendations!

We Need a Federal Budget Based on What Works

July 27, 2018

Congress created the Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking to infuse scientific evidence into the decisions of policymakers as the first step in making policies that improve our lives while not wasting taxpayers’ money on unproven strategies. Its work recently culminated in a final report in September 2017 that recommended improving secure access to data, modernizing privacy protections and strengthening government’s evidence-building capacity.

Following the recommendations of the commission — that decisions to support government-funded public policies stay true to the existing evidence base — we recommend that lawmakers change the budgeting process to examine the likelihood of success for each policy and program listed in the line-item federal budget.

Separating Children from Parents Can Impair Brain Development

June 19, 2018

The members of the National Prevention Science Coalition, a group of experts in neuroscience, behavioral science and public policy, feel compelled to issue a statement in response to the practice of separating immigrant children from their parents.  While a multitude of voices has risen up to condemn this inhumane approach, the potentially devastating neurological, psychological and behavioral effects that can result from this practice need to be more fully articulated...

The Promise of Prevention Science for Addressing Intergenerational Poverty

This article reviews research suggesting that the prevention of intergenerational poverty will be enhanced if we add evidence-based family and school prevention programs to address the adverse social environments that often accompany poverty. Government policies such as the Earned Income Tax Credit can reduce family poverty, but simply improving the economic stability of the family will not necessarily prevent the development of child and adolescent problems such as academic failure, antisocial behavior, drug abuse, and depression, all of which can undermine future economic wellbeing. The authors briefly review the evidence linking family poverty to adverse social environments, which can have deleterious effects on children’s behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and neurophysiological development. They then document the value of evidence-based family- and school-based prevention programs in effectively addressing these behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and neurophysiological factors that can put children at risk for continued poverty in adulthood. They also describe 3 family-based prevention programs that have been found to have a direct effect on families’ future economic wellbeing.

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