News Article Details

National Prevention Week aims to raise awareness about substance abuse, importance of mental health

Bluefield Daily Telegraph - 5/16/2017

May 16--PRINCETON -- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Prevention Week is May 14th through 20th, according to Community Connections Director Greg Puckett.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAM HSA, is sponsoring National Prevention Week.

The annual health observance highlights the important role that individuals and communities have in helping people live and lead healthy, productive, and happy lives Puckett said in a press release.

"With a 2017 theme of Making Each Day Count, National Prevention Week raises awareness about the importance of substance abuse prevention and the effective promotion of mental health," Puckett said in a press release. "The week-long campaign encourages the community to become educated around seven important topics: the importance of community development and substance abuse prevention, prevention of youth tobacco use, prevention of underage drinking and alcohol misuse, prevention of prescription and opioid drug misuse, prevention of illicit drug use and youth marijuana use, prevention of suicide, and the promotion of mental health and wellness."

Puckett said a key element to public health and long-term individual health is primary substance abuse prevention.

"Community Connections, Inc. serves as the Prevention Lead Organization (PLO) for Region 6 of the Governor's Substance Abuse Taskforce -- including Fayette, Greenbrier, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Summers, Webster, and Wyoming counties," Puckett said in a press release. "The program facilitates coalitions in each focus county, implements evidence-based programs and practices, and seeks to educate the community on substance abuse and addiction. Substance use disorders have a powerful effect on the health of individuals, their families, and their communities."

Puckett said in 2014, an estimated 22.5 million Americans aged 12 and older self-reported needing treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use.

"Preventing substance misuse and abuse is critical to America's behavioral and physical health," Puckett said in a press release. "Prevention is defined by services, programs, and practices delivered prior to the onset of a disorder with an intention to prevent or reduce the risk of developing a behavioral health problem such as underage alcohol use, prescription drug misuse and abuse and illicit drug use."

Puckett said West Virginia has a vast, intricate network of prevention professionals providing direct substance abuse prevention services throughout all 55 counties.

--For every $1 invested in substance abuse prevention services, an average of $18 is saved in substance abuse treatment, recovery, and associated healthcare costs.

Each day of the week will look at a different substance abuse problem. Monday was Youth Tobacco Use Day.

--32.6 percent of cancer deaths in West Virginia are attributable to smoking.

--The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids estimates that 47,000 kids now under the age of 18 and alive in West Virginia will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.

--16,600 (18.8 percent) high school students in West Virginia illegally smoke, compared to the national average of 10.8 percent.

Unless otherwise noted, the aforementioned data reflects that which is presented in the 2016 WV DHHR Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities state epidemiological profiles.

-- Contact Blake Stowers at


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