First, the good news: Since 2015, there has been a steady decline in alcohol use among 18- to 25-year-olds.
However, alcohol use by people in this age group continues to be dangerously high. And even though the prevalence of underage drinking is declining, we are seeing an increase in marijuana use by young adults.
Those of us who work in prevention already know that misuse of different substances is often connected. So, while prevention efforts might focus on a specific substance, such as alcohol, these efforts are more effective when they work together — when we connect the dots.
That’s why using an integrated approach to preventing alcohol and marijuana use is crucial for young adults’ health.
We are facing an evolving landscape of drug use with at times limited resources. But connecting the dots between prevention strategies lets us leverage what we have to greater effect. For instance, a strategy that uses the same approach to talk to students about the negative outcomes associated with marijuana and alcohol use achieves more than a strategy that only focuses on a single substance. Similarly, connecting prevention strategies signals to young people that treatment for substance use is a universal solution (even if treatment plans vary).
To keep these prevention efforts moving forward, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in partnership with Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) National Leadership Forum, will host its 16th annual Prevention Day on Monday, February 3, from 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at the Gaylord National Resort at National Harbor near Washington, DC.
Join prevention practitioners, community leaders, researchers and consumers and attend training sessions, workshops and plenary sessions that will teach you how to leverage evidence-based initiatives and findings to address SAMHSA’s prevention priorities for 2020.
Prevention Day also will kick off SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week (NPW), an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance use disorders and the promotion of positive mental health.
Don’t forget to visit SAMHSA’s Prevention Action Center during Prevention Day to browse a variety of prevention resources addressing topics such as prescription drug misuse and abuse, underage drinking, youth marijuana use, and suicide prevention.
Register to attend the event and follow SAMHSA on Twitter and Facebook to learn more. We hope you will join us in connecting the dots to amplify our prevention efforts in communities across the country.