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October Is Substance Abuse Prevention Month

This column was submitted by the Needham Public Health Department.

By Cathy Toran, M.Ed
Needham Public Health Department 

Substance Abuse Prevention & Education

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, a month-long observance that focuses on the role substance abuse prevention plays in promoting safe and healthy communities.

The Scope of Substance Abuse in America:

Substance use, including underage drinking and the non-medical use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, significantly affects the health and well-being of our nation’s youth and people of all ages:

  • An estimated 10 million people aged 12 to 20 report drinking alcohol during the past month.1 To put that in perspective, there are more Americans who have engaged in underage drinking than the number of people who live in the state of Michigan.2
  • Approximately 23 million Americans—roughly the population of Australia—are current illicit drug users.3-4 Marijuana use and non-medical use of prescription medications are the most common types of drug use in America.
  • Almost 18 million Americans are classified with alcohol dependence or abuse.5
  • Heavy alcohol use can cause serious damage to the body and affects the liver, nervous system, muscles, lungs, and heart.6
  • Alcohol is a factor in approximately 41 percent of deaths from motor vehicle crashes.7

Stopping substance before it begins can increase a person’s chances of living a longer, healthier, and more productive life.

Prevention Resources:

Sources:

1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2011). Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Vol. I. Summary of national findings, (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, NSDUH Series H 41, HHS Publication No. SMA 11 4658). Rockville, MD: SAMHSA.

2. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce. State and County Quickfacts. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/26000.html

3. Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/as.html

4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2011). Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Vol. I. Summary of national findings, (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, NSDUH Series H 41, HHS Publication No. SMA 11 4658). Rockville, MD: SAMHSA.

5. Ibid.

6. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2010). Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Retrieved December 20, 2011, from http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2010). Beyond Hangovers: Understanding Alcohol’s Impact on Your Health. Retrieved December 20, 2011, from http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Hangovers/beyondHangovers.pdf

7. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2010). Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 20, 2011, from http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx

John Casy October 23, 2012 at 08:51 PM
October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, I laugh at this one. When is the state and federal goverment going to learn you have lost the war on drugs. Do these functioning morons really think a National Substance Abuse Prevention Month is going to make any real difference. It will NOT stop people from drinking or using drugs. It will just give us a good laugh as we get out drinks ready and light a joint.

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