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Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC)

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

What is substance abuse? Healthy People 2020 defines substance abuse as a set of related conditions associated with the consumption of mind and behavior altering substances that have negative behavioral and health outcomes (2014).

In 2011, the month of October was presidentially announced as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month (The White House Washington, 2014). The goal of the event is to encourage the development of substance abuse prevention programs and reduce the incidence of substance abuse among people of all ages.


The Drug Free Communities Act of 1997 brought nationwide attention to substance abuse and its societal consequences, granting coalitions funding for drug abuse prevention programs (The White House Washington, 2014). The month of October brings awareness to substance abuse prevention programs around the nation, which can help lead people to a longer and healthier life. In Indiana, many community coalitions striving towards substance abuse prevention are funded by the Drug Free Communities Grant.

Community awareness and educational strategies can help reduce substance abuse and increase the overall quality of life. Research has shown that for every dollar invested in school-based prevention programs, $18 can be saved in economic costs related to substance abuse disorders. Although there has been over $193 billion in monetary costs due to substance abuse related crime, health care, and lost economic productivity; a greater cost is the loss of loved ones (The White House Washington, 2014). Approximately 5,000 youth under the age of 21 die of alcohol use each year (SAMHSA, 2011).

Substance abuse impacts not only the users themselves, but the communities in which they live. Over 23 million people abuse drugs in America, but three times that number come into regular contact with those 23 million, and are indirectly affected (SAMHSA, 2013). Substance abuse is a community issue because it touches the lives of everyone. During National Substance Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, communities can start working towards a positive change. School and community based prevention programs are already demonstrating their effectiveness. According to Healthy People 2020 between the years 2004 and 2009, there was a significant decline in the use of methamphetamine, amphetamine, and alcohol abuse in adolescents through 12th grade (2014).

There are many ways a community can bring awareness to substance abuse prevention. This SAMHSA brochure includes ideas for events and educational resources for National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.

It is essential that we take advantage of Substance Abuse Prevention Month as an opportunity to work together to build strong communities and reduce substance abuse in the nation. Indiana Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is one program working towards this common goal. To access more information about IndianaSBIRT located through IPRC, please visit: http://www.indianasbirt.org/


  • "Month-by-Month Prevention and Promotion and Call to Action Planning Guide." Dhss.delaware.gov. SAMHSA, 1 Jan. 2013. Web. 1 Sept. 2014. http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dsamh/files/csap_fellow_prevention_promo_guide.pdf.
  • "October 2014 Is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month." Office of National Drug Control Policy. The White House Washington, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 1 Sept. 2014. http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/prevention-intro/prevention-month.
  • "Save The Date: October Is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month." National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. The White House Washington, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 1 Sept. 2014. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ondcp/prevention/prevention_month_-_save_the_date_final.pdf.
  • "Substance Abuse." HealthyPeople.gov. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 1 Sept. 2014. http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=40.

By Chelsea Jarvis, 10/1/2014