October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month
In 2011, the government designated October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month in order to raise awareness and lessen the stigma surrounding these issues.
We’re joining a group of therapy and addiction treatment partners to bring light to this growing problem. Now, more than ever, we are seeing an unprecedented increase in drug-related deaths and relapse.
Some harrowing statistics from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE):
From January to April 2020, Colorado has experienced a 35% increase in overdose deaths from the same time period the year prior.
In April 2020 alone, there was a 61% increase in overdose deaths, suggesting an intersection between two public health crises – COVID-19 and drug overdoses – that we can’t ignore.
We know the best way to treat substance abuse is to prevent it, so please join us throughout the month as we spread awareness on this important issue impacting our state.
Substance Abuse Prevention Live Chats
Mile High Continuing Care’s CEO Brice Hancock and CCO Sarah Zubrin will be leading a series of live chats discussing substance abuse prevention tips and tactics throughout the month. Watch live on our Facebook page @milehighcontinuingcare.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Featured guest is Lindsey Chadwick, MA, LPC, with the Hazelden Betty Ford Children’s Program.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Featured guest is Laura Peña, lead facilitator and program manager at Art from Ashes.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Featured guest is Kim Thompson, founder of Colorado Teen & Family Center.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Featured guest is Allison Harden, founder of Beyond Betty.
Substance Abuse Prevention Chats
Live Chat Week 1: Lindsey Chadwick, MA, LPC, with the Hazelden Betty Ford Children’s Program
Live Chat Week 2: Laura Peña, lead facilitator and program manager at Art from Ashes
Live Chat Week 3: Kim Thompson, founder of Colorado Teen & Family Center
Live Chat Week 3: Allison Harden, founder of Beyond Betty Organization
Additional Resources on Substance Abuse Prevention
There are many national and local sources that provide excellent information on substance abuse prevention that can be put to good use during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month or any other time of the year. Here are just a few.
Colorado Substance Abuse Trends and Prevention Programs
- The Colorado Health Institute recently examined early data from the CDPHE for January – April 2020 that suggests more Coloradans have died due to a drug overdose this year than in any recent year. The Colorado Health Institute is a nonprofit and independent health policy research organization that is a trusted source of objective health policy information, data, and analysis for the state’s health care leaders.
- Putting Prevention Science to Work is Colorado’s statewide strategic plan for primary prevention of substance abuse (2019 – 2024) developed in collaboration with the Colorado Health Institute.
- Denver Public Health’s Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Program is working with Denver community members to address three of the nation’s top youth substance abuse prevention priorities.
- Colorado’s Household Medication Take-Back Program accepts and destroys unused and expired over-the-counter and prescription medications generated by households. All locations accept prescribed controlled substances (i.e., Percoset, Vicodin, Xanax, Ritalin and Adderall). Visit the website to find drop-off locations.
Prevention Information and Tools for Parents and Caregivers
- Parent Toolkit: How to Talk With Your Kids About Alcohol, Marijuana & Other Drugs – a guide for parents or caregivers with ideas on how to start talking to your child about underage drinking and marijuana use, developed by the Denver Resource for Awareness and Prevention (DenverRAP).
- Talk. They Hear You. Campaign – the substance use prevention campaign developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) to help parents and caregivers start talking to their children early about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs.
- Parents Guide to Substance Use + Mental Health – this guide, a collaboration of the Child Mind Institute and Partnership to End Addiction, provides information on common mental health disorders in adolescence (and the medications that are often used to treat these), tips on identifying substance misuse, and steps to making informed decisions about evaluation and treatment for co-occurring disorders.
- Early Warning Signs of Teen Substance Use – article by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation provides warning signs, facts, and risk factors for teen substance use.
- Talking With Your College-Bound Young Adult About Alcohol – this downloadable guide and video give parents information they can discuss with their college-bound young adults about the consequences of underage drinking.
Prevention Tools and Tips for Youth
- Rise Above Colorado – a drug abuse prevention organization that measurably impacts teen perceptions and attitudes about the risks of substance abuse to help youth make empowered, healthy choices. The Rise Above Colorado website was developed with interactive features to support teens’ wellness and potential empowering youth to lead a life free of drug abuse.
- Tips for Teens – SAMHSA fact sheets providing teens with the truth on hallucinogens, sedatives, stimulants, marijuana, opioids, and more.
- Art From Ashes (AFA) – a Colorado nonprofit using a nationally-recognized, award-winning curriculum that encourages creative transformation through the power of artistic expression. AFA is the first youth arts agency in Colorado to use a process of creativity to facilitate personal resiliency and self-determination among high-risk youth age 9 to 24 years old.
- Alateen Colorado – (Al-Anon for younger members) is a peer support group for young people seeking help with problems that arise when alcoholism afflicts a parent, another close relative, or a friend.
General Substance Abuse Prevention Information
- Smart Colorado – engages and informs Coloradans on the risks that marijuana poses to youth. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization provides important public awareness and education of marijuana’s health risks to youth and awareness of regulatory limitations and policy challenges that result in increased youth exposure to the drug.
- Know the Risks of Marijuana – SAMHSA site brings together a comprehensive collection of information on the real risks of marijuana use that can impact a person’s health and life.
- Get Connected: Linking Older Adults with Resources on Medication, Alcohol, and Mental Health – toolkit designed for organizations that provide services to older adults that offers information and materials to help understanding the issues associated with substance misuse and mental illness in older adults.