National Prevention Week Is Now

By May Wilkerson 05/21/12

This week celebrates community organizations that help prevent substance abuse—and anyone can get involved.

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"We are the ones."

This year's National Prevention Week, organized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is here—and there are many ways to get involved. The new annual observance celebrates people and organizations who work year-round to prevent substance abuse and promote mental and emotional health, and organizations across the country are hosting events to raise awareness about their work and to show people how to get involved in preventing substance abuse in their communities. Some of the central issues to be addressed include the prevention of underage drinking, prescription drug abuse and suicide. As for the timing, spring is a crucial time for drug abuse education, since first-time marijuana, cigarette and alcohol use among youth tends to rise between April and July, partly due to graduations and outdoor events and parties, which often involve alcohol and drugs.

To get involved, check out this map to find an event in your area, and sign the prevention pledge to commit to a substance abuse-free lifestyle. You can also download the National Prevention Week Toolkit to help you plan an event in your own community. The theme of this year's National Prevention Week is: "We are the ones. How are you taking action?" It's an idea that "recognizes that small, every day actions contribute to healthier, more vibrant communities," says SAMHSA director Fran Harding. The theme was introduced last year as part of SAMHSA's PSA Video Contest; below is the winning entry: "I Am More Than Meets The Eye."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.