NCJFCJ Observes National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

October 1, 2015

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. The NCJFCJ recognizes the continuing challenges of alcohol and drug use and/or abuse in the U.S. for adolescent youth and commends the efforts of those involved in substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. The NCJFCJ pursues the goals of reducing substance abuse, especially among youth, through training and technical assistance efforts geared toward juvenile drug court judges and other juvenile justice professionals. During October, the NCJFCJ will post weekly substance use/abuse facts and blogs on our social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter). 

Substance abuse includes underage drinking, illicit drug use, prescription drug abuse, and over-the-counter drug abuse. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 11.5 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2.9 million adolescents) were current alcohol users, 7.4 percent (1.8 million adolescents) were current users of marijuana, and 9.4 percent (slightly more than 2.3 million adolescents) were current users of illicit drugs. Current use is defined as having used the substance in the past 30 days. An estimated 1.3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 had substance use disorders in 2014, which represents 5 percent of adolescents, or about 1 in 20 adolescents. Substance abuse is significantly related to violent crimes, fatal automobile accidents, fatal-injury accidents, accidental overdoses and suicides. Addressing and/or preventing substance use and abuse may prevent many of the negative outcomes related to the issue.

In 2011, President Obama announced the first official observance of October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month (see the Presidential Proclamation here). Every October, Americans recognize the struggles that individuals go through with substance abuse and celebrate the triumphs of those individuals who have overcome addictions or have addressed substance abuse before it worsened. Substance abuse programs around the country, including adult and juvenile drug courts, community treatment programs, school-based treatment programs, and anti-drug and substance abuse coalitions have united their efforts to keep America healthier and safer.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has put together a list of prevention resources for both coalitions/organizations and individuals (click here to view the lists) to help provide opportunities to get involved in substance abuse prevention. SAMHSA has also created a list of ways that coalitions and awareness groups can get involved and observe October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month (see here). Whether helping local organizations or donating to national organizations, everyone can help prevent substance abuse and make America a healthier and safer place to live. For example, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) states that every dollar invested in evidence-based treatment programs for substance abuse can help reduce the costs related to negative consequences of substance abuse by $18. ONDCP is participating in National Substance Abuse Prevention Month as well – check out this video from the ONDCP Director, Michael Botticelli. In addition, October 23 to 31 is Red Ribbon Week, a week-long campaign against drugs for elementary through high school students. This year’s theme is “Respect Yourself. Be Drug Free.”

Throughout the month of October, the NCJFCJ will publish blog posts and facts to recognize National Substance Abuse Prevention Month:

Blog 1
October 5, 2015
Warning Signs of Adolescent Drug Use


Blog 2
October 12, 2015
Parental Support and Youth Substance Use Prevention


For more information about National Abuse Substance Prevention Month:

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