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National Prevention Week 2020
National Prevention Week runs from May 10 through May 16, 2020.
The goal of this week, which is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is to promote mental health and spread awareness about the importance of preventing substance use.
This event is held every year, bringing individuals and organizations across the country together for a common goal. The themes for this year’s National Prevention Week are as follows.
Monday, May 11: Preventing Prescription Drug And Opioid Misuse
On Monday of National Prevention Week 2020, the focus is on the prevention of opioid and prescription drug abuse. In 2018 alone, SAMHSA reports that opioid use disorders affected approximately 2 million people across the country.
Pain reliever use disorders affected 1.7 million people, and another 751,000 people suffered from sedative or tranquilizer use disorders. The majority of those affected were age 26 or older, but opioid and prescription drug abuse can occur among adolescents and young adults as well.
All of these disorders lead to serious consequences. In many cases, they begin with a valid prescription and/or experimentation. For this reason, it’s important to educate people on the potential for prescription drug and opioid misuse, as well as the potential complications.
Tuesday, May 12: Preventing Underage Drinking And Alcohol Misuse
Underage drinking is a serious issue all across the country, leading to alcohol addiction and even fatal overdose. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 30 percent of teens have tried alcohol by the time they turn 15.
When someone reaches the age of 18, this percentage increases to 58 percent. Even more alarming, approximately 7.1 million people between the ages of 12 and 20 who were surveyed in 2018 admitted to drinking a significant amount of alcohol within the past month.
In light of the prevalence of underage drinking, prevention is key. Young people need to understand the dangers of alcohol, the potential for abuse, and the legal ramifications of drinking before the age of 21.
Wednesday, May 13: Preventing Illicit Drug Use And Youth Marijuana Use
Despite the fact that the possession and use of illicit drugs come with serious legal consequences, people of all ages in the United States continue to use these substances.
According to SAMHSA, approximately 53.2 million people in the United States used illicit drugs in 2018. This corresponds to almost 20 percent of the population, indicating the severity and widespread nature of this problem.
The highest rate of usage was among adults aged 18 to 26. Within this demographic, 2 in 5 people had used illicit drugs in the past year.
Youth marijuana use in the United States is another issue worth considering during National Prevention Week. Although marijuana usage has been legalized for adults in several states, it remains illegal for adolescents.
The use of marijuana in adolescence or early adulthood has been linked to several complications, including:
- impaired driving
- poor performance in school
- addiction and/or a higher risk of mental health problems
Education and increased awareness can help to combat marijuana use among teens.
Virtual Care During National Prevention Week
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Thursday, May 14: Preventing Youth Tobacco Use (E-Cigarettes and Vaping)
It’s no secret that the use of tobacco can lead to grave consequences, including addiction and fatal health complications. For decades, medical professionals have been researching the different ways in which tobacco use affects the mind and body.
With the invention of e-cigarettes and vaping, the potential for problems has only grown.
Unfortunately, many young people are drawn to e-cigarettes and vaping, mistakenly viewing them as a less risky alternative to older tobacco delivery methods. These drugs are particularly dangerous when used by adolescents, as their brains are still developing.
On Thursday, the focus of National Prevention Week is drawing attention to the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping, specifically for younger people.
Friday, May 15: Preventing Suicide
The final themed day of National Prevention Week 2020 focuses on the issue of suicide. SAMHSA reports that, as of 2018, 10.7 million adults in the United States had thought seriously about suicide.
3.3 million adults had made suicide plans, and 1.4 million had made a failed suicide attempt. Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone, but they are more common among people with substance use disorders and/or other mental health conditions.
On Friday, the goal is to raise awareness of the prevalence of suicidal thoughts, as well as to educate people on the signs and symptoms.