National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

This October marks the second annual National Substance Abuse Prevention Month – an observance to highlight the vital role of substance abuse prevention in both individual and community health and to remember those who have lost their lives to substance abuse.  The Office of National Drug Control Policy joins President Obama in celebrating National Substance Abuse Prevention Month and encourages prevention efforts this month and all year long to ensure the health of teens and young adults.

Why do we recognize National Substance Abuse Prevention Month?

Millions of Americans suffer from substance abuse, which includes underage drinking, alcohol dependency, non-medical use of prescription drugs, abuse of over-the-counter medications, and illicit drug use. 

  • Young Americans aged 12 to 20 account for 11 percent of the country’s monthly alcohol consumption.1
  • Approximately 23 million people aged 12 or older used illicit drugs in 2010.2

Prevention strategies targeting the root of the problem are essential to curb drug use and help people lead healthier lives.  Early intervention helps prevent substance abuse and reduce the negative consequences of addiction before they occur.  Through community-based efforts involving youth, parents, educators, and government officers, we can strengthen the support systems that deter our Nation’s young people from drug consumption and improve both academic performance and workforce readiness.

Each dollar invested in an evidence-based prevention program can reduce costs related to substance use disorders by an average of $18.3  Recognizing the power of prevention, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy (PDF, 69 pages) in April to advance the Administration’s prevention efforts.  The Strategy includes new developments in efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences and outlines a research-based blueprint to reduce the rate of drug use and drug use consequences by 15 percent over five years (2010-2015).

Throughout National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, ONDCP will orchestrate Federal prevention activities and support participation in the observance within states and communities.

Prevention Resources:

For Coalitions and Professionals:

  • Communities That Care (CTC) Curriculum – a training program that equips communities with information to create a public health prevention approach to target youth problem behaviors such as violence, delinquency, and substance abuse. Includes PowerPoint slides that cover strategic consultation, training, and research-based tools.
  • National Registry of Effective Programs and Practices – a searchable online registry of interventions supporting substance abuse prevention and mental health promotion.
  • National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)– a primary source of information on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and abuse in the general U.S. civilian non-institutionalized population, age 12 and older.
  • Binge Drinking and Youth: What Everyone Needs to Know – a webcast that describes the problem of binge drinking and the dangers it poses to youth, including alcohol dependency. Examines the subcultures and behaviors that support binge drinking in youth and highlights prevention, early intervention, and treatment options.
  • National Strategy for Suicide Prevention 2012: Goals and Objectives for Action – a report outlining a national strategy to guide suicide prevention actions.
  • Behavioral Health Among College Students: An Information and Resource Kit - Coming in February 2013 to SAMHSA's Store  – a resource developed for college and university prevention practitioners, health center staff, and administrators. The kit focuses on behavioral health issues among young Americans enrolled in colleges and universities.

For Individuals:

For more information:


1 Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (2005). Drinking in America: Myths, Realities, and Prevention Policy. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Retrieved December 20, 2011, from

2 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2011). Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Vol. I. Summary of national findings, (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, NSDUH Series H 41, HHS Publication No. SMA 11 4658). Rockville, MD: SAMHSA.