National Prevention Week 2021
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Prevention Week (NPW) is May 9 through 15. NPW is the annual culmination of year-round efforts by SAMHSA to increase public awareness of and efforts to address mental health and substance use disorders. The Central East Prevention Technology Transfer Center (CE-PTTC), funded by SAMHSA, is committed to these efforts. Through our webinars and intensive training, learning products, stakeholder engagement, collaborative workgroups, and other initiatives, the CE-PTTC supports workforce development and public awareness to address behavioral health issues. By engaging in NPW activities, prevention stakeholders can celebrate their efforts and successes and provide resources and information on the work that remains. The three primary goals of NPW are to:1
- Involve communities in raising awareness of behavioral health issues and the evidence-based prevention practices that can address them
- Foster collaborations and partnerships to improve behavioral health outcomes
- Promote and disseminate quality resources and information
As NPW approaches, it is important to take a moment to reflect on why we should celebrate and raise awareness of prevention. Prevention is a vital part of the behavioral health continuum and can provide immediate and long-term positive effects for people and communities. Prevention can improve the overall health and well-being of people by reducing harmful behavior from occurring.2 Furthermore, high rates of substance use, availability of substances, and permissive attitudes towards substance use are all risk factors for future substance use.3 This means that prevention activities now can have a cascading positive impact on the health and well-being of future generations.
Additionally, due to the high economic and health care costs of substance use, investing in prevention can lead to significant cost savings for organizations, communities, and governments.4 These savings can then be invested in other activities to improve health and well-being. As such, prevention helps people in need of services now, provides aid to people who may need services in the future, and helps people who would benefit from increased support for other services. More information on NPW is available through SAMHSA. Prevention training and technical assistance on these and other topics is available through the Central East Prevention Technology Transfer Center.
- SAMHSA (2021). About National Prevention Week. Available at https://www.samhsa.gov/prevention-week/about
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (2020). Why is adolescence a critical time for preventing drug addiction? Available at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/preventing-drug-misuse-addiction-best-strategy
- Pears, K.C. et al (2007). Substance use risk across three generations: The roles of parent discipline practices and inhibitory control. Psychol Addict Behav 21(3): 373-386.
- SAMHSA (2008). Substance Abuse Prevention Dollars and Cents: A Cost- Benefit Analysis. Available at https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/cost-benefits-prevention.pdf