Thursday, October 6, 2011

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

Primary prevention is a systematic process that promotes healthy environments and behaviors before the onset of symptoms, thus reducing the likelihood of an illness, condition, or injury occurring. Substance abuse clearly is among the most costly health problems in the United States. Among national estimates of the costs of illness for 33 diseases and conditions, alcohol ranked second, tobacco ranked sixth, and drug disorders ranked seventh (National Institutes of Health [NIH]). This report shows that programs designed to prevent substance abuse can reduce these costs.

President Obama has proclaimed October National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. In his proclamation he states:

“By providing strong support systems for our loved ones, and by talking with our children about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, we can increase their chances of living long, healthy, and productive lives. During National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, we celebrate those dedicated to prevention efforts, and we renew our commitment to the well being of all Americans.

The damage done by drugs is felt far beyond the millions of Americans with diagnosable substance abuse or dependence problems countless families and communities also live with the pain and heartbreak it causes. Relationships are destroyed, crime and violence blight communities, and dreams are shattered. Substance abuse touches every sector of our society, straining our health care and criminal justice systems.

For all these reasons, my Administration has made prevention a central component of our National Drug Control Strategy, and we have developed the first ever National Prevention Strategy. These strategies, inspired by the thousands of drug free coalitions across our country, recognize the power of community based prevention organizations, and suggest that prevention activities are most effective when informed by science, driven by State and local partnerships, and tuned to the specific needs of a community.

By investing in evidence based prevention, we can also decrease emergency room visits and lower rates of chronic disease, easing the burden on America's health care system. We can improve student achievement and workforce readiness. Most importantly, we must continue to support the efforts of parents and guardians, our children's first teachers and role models, whose positive influence is the most effective deterrent to alcohol and other drug use and the strongest influence for making health choices.”

Be a part of prevention in your community by joining one of the many organizations devoted to the health and wellbeing of the county. The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is a group of diverse leaders and organizations committed to integrating and aligning our resources to make our community safer and healthier. The coalition is dedicated to engaging our entire community in this endeavor. By moving in this direction, we work smart, spend smart and strive to reduce our tax burden as we focus on preventing such costly problems as drug abuse, underage alcohol and tobacco consumption, teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, school safety and school drop outs. The prevention efforts are results focused, identifying and implementing proven, cost effective programs, policies and activities. The bottom line is that the work of the coalition is a common sense, smart spending, sound investment in the future of our youth and community. The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is committed to making Van Buren County a SAFE Place to live.

If you are interested in getting involved with the SAFE Coalition or would like more information feel free to contact us at 319-293-6412 or

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