The week of May 14th marks National Prevention Week, a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) supported annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. This is an opportunity to join with other individuals, organizations, and coalitions in the community to promote prevention efforts, educate others about behavioral health issues, and create and strengthen community partnerships. “Making Each Day Count” is this year’s theme.
National Prevention Week is held near the beginning of summer, due to the increased risk of substance use and abuse occurring at celebrations and recreational activities, including graduation parties, proms, weddings, and sporting events. Schools are encouraged to initiate and participate in prevention-themed events before the end of the school year in order to raise awareness in students of all ages. According to SAMHSA, the percentages of marijuana, cigarette, and alcohol use among youth increase between spring and summer (April-July), and the timing of this week helps educate both youth and their families at this crucial time of year.
Each day of that week highlights a specific topic. May 15th is Prevention of Tobacco Use; 16th is Prevention of Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse; 17th is Prevention of Prescription and Opioid Drug Misuse; 18th is Prevention of Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana Use; 19th is Prevention of Suicide; and the 20th is Promotion of Mental Health and Wellness. For the last five years, community organizations across the country hosted health fairs, block parties, educational assemblies, town hall meetings, memorial walks, social media campaigns, and outdoor events.
For more information, visit SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week webpage. Help set the example that prevention works by promoting a safe and healthy spring and summer with positive alternatives to alcohol and other drug use!