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 American youth and people of all ages:
- In 2013, an estimated 8.7 million people aged 12 to 20 (22.7 percent of this age group) reported drinking alcohol during the past month. To put that in perspective, there are more American youth who have engaged in underage drinking than there are people living in the state of Virginia.
- Approximately 25 million Americans age 12 and older were current illicit drug users. The most commonly used drugs were marijuana (19.8 million current users) and non-medical use of prescription medications (6.5 million current users).
- More than 17 million Americans age 12 and older were classified with alcohol dependence or abuse.
- Heavy alcohol use can cause serious damage to the body and affect the heart, liver, nervous system, digestive system, and immune system.
- Alcohol was a factor in approximately 31 percent of deaths from motor vehicle crashes in 2012.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, stopping substance abuse before it begins can increase a person’s chances of living a longer, healthier, and more productive life.
NCADD has many resources available about substance abuse. To learn more about alcohol, click here.
For a greater understanding about drugs and drug dependence, click here.
To check what lcoal NCADD affiliates have scheduled throughout National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, click here.
And, if you or someone you know needs help with a substance abuse problem, check out NCADD’s home page click on Looking for Immediate Assistance?.
The White House also released their official Presidential Proclamation on National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, 2014 which states:
Substance abuse disrupts our families, schools, and communities and limits the success of young people across our country. It destroys relationships and stands in the way of academic achievement. Every day, thousands of young Americans try drugs or alcohol for the first time, and for many, this decision will have a profound impact on their health and well-being. This month, we join with families, schools, and local leaders to promote safe and healthy neighborhoods and help ensure all our children have the support and resources they need to achieve their full potential.
Preventing substance use before it begins is the most effective way to eliminate the damage caused by drugs and the abuse of alcohol. That is why my Administration’s 2014 National Drug Control Strategy supports evidence-based education and outreach programs that connect with young people at schools, on college campuses, and in the workplace. This year, through the Drug-Free Communities Support Program, we are investing in 680 local coalitions that are working to reduce substance use in cities and towns across our country. These partners raise awareness of the harms associated with drug and alcohol use and create supportive environments that foster good decision-making.
Substance use affects everyone, and each of us can play a part in helping the next generation make choices that support physical, mental, behavioral, and emotional health. Parents, mentors, and community members can model a healthy lifestyle and should talk with kids early and often about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. During National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, we recognize all those who work to prevent substance use in our neighborhoods, and we renew our commitment to building a safer, drug-free America. Together, we can make sure all children have the opportunity to pursue happy, fulfilling, and productive lives.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2014 as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. I call upon all Americans to engage in appropriate programs and activities to promote comprehensive substance abuse prevention efforts within their communities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration