National Prevention Week: Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow.

Virginia L. Johnson – CSAPC Substance Use Prevention Manager

It is National Prevention Week, and it is time to stand up, speak out, and take action to raise awareness about substance use prevention and positive mental health promotion. National Prevention Week is SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) annual observation to increase public awareness around these important issues that impact children, youth, families, and communities. According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), youth are most likely to start using substances for the first time during the months of June and July. National Prevention Week is always held the third week of May, just before these prime summer months, when youth are most at risk.

National Prevention Week flyer

During National Prevention Week, SAMHSA highlights significant challenges today’s youth are facing. This year’s themes include:

  • Promotion of Mental Health and Wellness
  • Prevention of Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse
  • Prevention of Prescription and Opioid Drug Misuse
  • Prevention of Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana
  • Prevention of Suicide
  • Prevention of Youth Tobacco Use

So what can schools, communities, and families do to raise awareness throughout the year and not only during National Prevention Week? Get involved!

Individuals, parents, teachers, and organizations can get involved by hosting event(s) that raise awareness on these important topics. Events can be big or small. Examples include:

– Take the “Dear Future Me Challenge”
– Hosting a health fair.
– Painting a school mural or having art contests themed around healthy living.
– Hosting snack socials to reduce stress on campus.
– Sponsoring fun runs or walks for prevention.
– Having moments of silence during school or other events in honor of prevention.

Visit SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week website to learn more about National Prevention Week and activities.


About National Prevention Week. (2018, May 5). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved May 14, 2018.

National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (2018, January 1). National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Retrieved May 14, 2018.

For the Classroom: Dear Future Me Challenge

Grades: 6th – 12th grades, young adults
Objective: Commit to current healthy behaviors today that will impact long-term health

Youth can get involved in the Dear Future Me Challenge by writing a letter to their “future self” about what they’ve accomplished and what steps they’ve made to ensure a healthier tomorrow.  “Letters” can even be in the form of a video and shared via social media. There are many creative ways to participate in this challenge. The goal is participation, involvement, and awareness of healthier decision making.

How to Participate

1.Write a letter or draw a picture about the choices you’re making to live a healthy, happy life.
2. Take a picture of your letter or record a video of yourself reading your letter.
3. Share it on social media using the hashtag #DearFutureMe and #NPW2018.
4. Tag a few friends so they can participate and add their Dear Future Me letter to the NPW conversation.
5.Share any or all of the Dear Future Me videos on social media to encourage others to participate as well.

AnchorFeatured Poe Program: For the Health of It

Grade Level: 6th – 8th
Program Length: 60 minutes

Students will discover how using drugs and alcohol can damage their brains and bodies. This class is centered around interactive activities that focus on “showing and not telling” kids how their brains are affected by alcohol and drug (inhalants, marijuana) use. Real life scenarios are used to help students analyze how a “drugged” brain affects their actions and decision-making skills. Students will also engage in role-play reinforcing refusal skills.

Poe Center educator teaches drug education class with students

Schedule a program with Poe today!