National Substance Abuse Prevention Month is the entire month of October this year and aims to highlight the role that substance use prevention plays in communities and remember those who have lost their lives to this disease. Prevention plays an enormous role in communities by promoting awareness of what is affecting them on a local level and showing them what is key to building safe and healthy communities across the country. This month is a month for reflection, action, and for optimism.
According to a survey done on young Americans, 11 percent of the country’s monthly alcohol consumption is consumed by ages 12-20 and approximately 23 million people ages 12 or older have used illicit drugs in 2010. Due to these staggering statistics is why National Substance Abuse Prevention Month is so imperative for education and awareness in communities to aid in reducing these percentages. In order to facilitate this there are coalitions and professionals that attends and utilizes resources online and together to reduce these numbers.
Some of the country wide event ideas this year to help promote this month are promoting a pep rally within a school to create a “prevention pep rally” that students can pass out stickers and information to help raise awareness. Another idea is doing mural paintings working with a school to create murals that encourage substance abuse prevention and mental health promotion. Also promoting a workforce event that is focused on staff skills, in this there would be a workshop or training session about a prevention topic relevant to your community. Another workforce even could be hosting a substance free “happy hour” or potluck, where employees could discuss the benefits of an alcohol-free diet for a broader focus on health and wellness.