May 12-18 provides a timely opportunity for schools and organizations to host prevention-themed events and activities before the school year ends, raising awareness about this important issue among students and their families.

These are key periods of social transitions, a risk factor for youth substance use, and an opportunity to develop or strengthen the community, school, and family bonds that protect young people from substance use and strengthen community health overall.

This initiative, started by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), aims to increase public awareness of, and action around, mental health and/or substance use disorders.

The three primary goals of National Prevention Week are to:

• Involve communities in raising awareness of substance use and mental health issues and in implementing prevention strategies, and showcasing effectiveness of evidence-based prevention programs;

• Foster partnerships and collaborations with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to improving public health; and

• Promote and disseminate quality substance use prevention and mental health promotion resources and publications.

Each year, National Prevention Week includes daily themes to focus on major substance use and mental health topics. The 2019 daily themes are:

• Monday, May 13: Preventing Prescription and Opioid Drug Misuse

• Tuesday, May 14: Preventing Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse

• Wednesday, May 15: Preventing Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana Use

• Thursday, May 16: Preventing Youth Tobacco Use

• Friday, May 17: Preventing Suicide

National Prevention Week (NPW) is held each year during the third week of May. Originally, SAMHSA chose this week because it is near the start of summer, an important time for school, communities, and prevention professionals to re-focus on prevention. Adolescents and full-time college students most often use substances for the first time during June or July, according to SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data.

We know communities make prevention happen every day – not just during NPW – but NPW is the perfect time to promote and celebrate a year’s worth of prevention efforts, as well as get news, ideas, and resources to strengthen daily, weekly, and monthly prevention activities.

York County Prevention Network strategies target alcohol abuse and underage use, drug abuse and other risky behaviors of all ages. In recent years our goals and strategies have included: QPR (Question. Persuade. Refer.) suicide prevention training; the school-based peer support program, Hope Squads, that seeks to reduce self-destructive behavior and youth; providing Second Step curriculum that strengthens the social-emotional skills of youth and helps them reach their full potential; making it possible for students to attend June Jam, a 3-day leadership/prevention/team building conference and supporting youth prevention groups in York County.

Parents and teens need to talk - about lot of things. Alcohol use and binge drinking. Drug use. Internet and cellphone safety. Other risky behaviors. For tools and resources to get that conversation started, whether you are a parent or a teen: http://www.talkaboutalcohol.org/.

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