Did you know that this week – May 20-26 – is National Prevention Week? A new health observance established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – a government-run organization – the goal of National Prevention Week is to celebrate the work that community organizations and individuals do to help prevent substance abuse and encourage overall well-being, as well as to continue SAMHSA’s mission to spread awareness of substance abuse, particularly among teens. In fact, the reason for choosing the May dates was strategic on the organization’s part – the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently reported that the use of marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol increases among minors between the spring and summer months. Around the country, schools and organizations are banding together more than ever to promote substance abuse prevention through educational programs and pushes in their communities.
In support of the initiative, the federal government recently released the National Prevention Strategy, a plan that helps Americans stay healthy at every stage of life, whether they have suffered from addiction in the past or teenagers who have yet to dabble in drugs and alcohol. The plan outlines ways our local and federal government can work to prevent substance abuses and highlights some keys facts and statistics about what constitutes drug and alcohol abuse to help Americans better understand the severity of this problem in our nation.
Those suffering from an addiction – or supporting a loved one through addiction – know that prevention is critical in saving individuals and families from the ravages of addiction. So this week, let’s applaud the efforts of our governments and communities to bring substance abuse and prevention to the forefront, and – hopefully – help those in need of education and support.