The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is promoting the National Substance Abuse Prevention Month during October. On the SAMHSA website, (www.SAMHSA.gov), they state the following.
- An estimated 10 million people aged 12 to 20 report drinking alcohol during the past month. 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.
- Approximately 23 million Americans—roughly the population of Australia—are current illicit drug users. 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.
- Heavy alcohol use can cause serious damage to the body and affects the liver, nervous system, muscles, lungs, and heart.
- Alcohol is a factor in approximately 41 percent of deaths from motor vehicle crashes.
This is just the beginning of the data highlighting the problems with substance abuse. The noted information, as well as access to further data, will be found through the SAMHSA website at http://www.samhsa.gov/prevention/nationalpreventionmonth/.
PREVENTION WORKS! When we work together, we can make a difference in the lives of young people. Again, SAMHSA identifies a number of ideas a local community or coalition might consider. They have identified 14 ideas to get started. You and people you know may also have additional ideas worth considering. To find the ‘starter’ list, log on to SAMHSA at, http://www.samhsa.gov/prevention/docs/PreventionMonthActivities09192012.pdf.
PREVETNION WORKS! We don’t need to be part of a coalition to make a difference. Small and important steps can take place in our own homes with our families, friends, and/or neighbors. Another idea from SAMHSA is to start with the PREVENTION PLEDGE. Check it out at http://www.samhsa.gov/prevention/docs/PreventionPledge_09192012.pdf. It’s easy and a simple way of sharing with others how important it is to make healthy choices.
PREVENTION WORKS! Lastly, in local school survey data, 7th, 9th and 11th graders indicated they experience better grades and less alcohol, tobacco and other drug use when they have positive connections with caring adults. It really doesn’t take a lot to make a huge difference for a young person. But it does take adults being involved; reinforcing positive, life enriching choices. Consider being one of these adults. It can mean the world to a young person.
For more information on how to be involved contact SAMHSA or the Cherry Street Health Promotion office nearest you: Kent County - or, Montcalm County – 989-831-4591, JohnKroneck@CherryHealth.com.