The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Prevention Week (NPW) is just around the corner! For the past 10 years, NPW has provided a public education platform to support and promote prevention work all year long by providing ideas, tools and resources to help individuals and communities address substance misuse at home, at school and in the community. This year, SAMHSA celebrates the 10th anniversary of NPW during the week of May 9–15, 2021. Visit www.samhsa.gov/prevention-week to find meaningful ways to participate.
There is a role for everybody in prevention. This is especially true as rates of substance misuse and abuse have increased during the past year as we deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our daily lives. For example, a RAND study noted an increase in alcohol consumption in every age group and especially in women and parents of young children. According to the study, heaving drinking by women has increased by 41%.
We also know that the pandemic has eroded the mental health and well-being for many Americans and that drug use is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of June 2020, 13% of Americans reported starting or increasing substance use as a way of coping with stress or emotions related to COVID-19. The study also indicated that younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers and unpaid adult caregivers were particularly affected disproportionately and experienced worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use and elevated suicidal ideation.
We read these headlines and hear the news and may feel like the situation is hopeless. However, we each have the ability to turn the tide of addiction and contribute to creating a healthier environment that promotes well-being. NPW provides a platform to empower people to take positive action to prevent the onset of addiction and to provide help to those who are struggling. We know that prevention happens everywhere when there is the commitment and desire for healthier outcomes. Be part of the solution!
Get informed. Be prepared. Take action.