group of teenagers

In 2017, it was estimated that 1 in 12 adults in the United States had a substance use disorder.1 With the added stress and uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis, these numbers are only increasing. A survey from June of this year found that 13% of people started or increased substance use as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.2 Not only does this disease wreak havoc on the person with the problem, but also their substance abuse tends to lead to issues for their loved ones and community as well.

The youth tend to be an especially vulnerable group when it comes to addiction. An estimated 74% of people admitted into substance abuse treatment began their substance use when they were 17 or younger and 10.2% at age 11 or younger.3 For youth across the United States and the world, this means that caving into peer pressure or just trying drugs and alcohol for the fun of it could lead to bigger issues down the road. Because October is Substance Use Prevention Month, now is a good time to focus on ways to help people, including young adults in particular, avoid the many downfalls of addiction.

How to Observe Substance Use Prevention Month 2020

Prevention and early intervention are important parts of curbing substance use. Both can not only help people avoid the negative consequences of addiction but also save lives.

Whether you are a parent, teacher, or a teenage, here are some things you can do to observe Substance Abuse Prevention Month 2020 and do your part to prevent the development of a substance use disorder in someone you care about.

  • Learn the early signs of addiction and how to intervene immediately
  • Talk to the young adults in your life about the dangers of substance abuse, prescription drug abuse, and underage drinking
  • Encourage your loved ones to get mental health care if needed to keep them from turning to drugs and alcohol for help instead
  • Get involved in the lives of young adults you care about and encourage open communication with them
  • If you have personal experience with substance abuse or watched a loved one struggle with addiction, share your story as a warning to others
  • Get involved with community efforts surrounding substance use prevention or organize your own

Unfortunately, substance abuse is a downward spiral, and what begins as occasional misuse or experimentation can eventually lead to a substance use disorder. Get help at the first sign of trouble to keep these problems from getting out of control. Contact us today at Vertava Health to learn more about how we may be able to help you or someone you care about.