This month is an exciting time for organizations in the prevention field and many others who support substance abuse prevention efforts. May 7-13, 2023 is National Prevention Week, a time to raise public awareness about substance use and abuse, as well as mental health issues.
For the last three decades, GUIDE’s goal has been to reduce and prevent substance use and abuse in Gwinnett County, and we continue to expand services throughout the state of Georgia. Dedicated to building safer and healthier communities, GUIDE believes prevention is key to carrying out this mission.
This month, GUIDE is encouraging our supporters to participate in National Prevention Week activities, such as SAMHSA’s #MyPreventionStory Challenge. If you’d like to further be a part of National Prevention Week, we want to help! Read below for ways you can support prevention in honor of National Prevention Week, now and throughout the year. It’s as easy as G-U-I-D-E!
- G – Get involved in your local community.
Did you know that communities that are well cared for have lower rates of substance abuse? When you think about this, what likely comes to mind is beautifying the community to improve its appearance. However, you can also get involved in local programs that support the community. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, but you’re not sure where to start, try Volunteer Gwinnett, a countywide volunteer program that matches your interests and skills to local volunteer activities.
If you’d like to volunteer in Gwinnett County doing timely and important work related to the ongoing pandemic, consider reaching out to Gwinnett Cares. Gwinnett Cares is an online grassroots effort that’s spun from a large group of community stakeholders to streamline communication to Gwinnett’s population of a million+ people about how to get and give help during COVID-19.
- U – Understand the facts about substance abuse and help spread the word.
A few ways you can support prevention efforts are by learning more about the effects of substance abuse on individuals and communities, beginning to have conversations about these issues and sharing your commitment to prevention with others. We have quite a few printable materials available, as well as several informational blog posts on substance abuse prevention. If you’re looking for content you can easily share with others, you can download our shareable social media images or get electronic copies of our “Inspired to Make Healthy Choices” newsletter. Want another simple way to be a prevention ally? Take the pledge to not serve alcohol to minors and help prevent prescription drug misuse and abuse. In small ways, you can make a big difference.
- I – Invest in programs that support prevention.
Substance abuse prevention programs aren’t possible without those who believe in the cause and invest accordingly. Whether you prefer to give financially or devote your time, you are making a huge difference to a local grassroots organization that has a really important job to do. If you’d like to give to GUIDE in honor of National Prevention Week, you can make a donation here. We appreciate gifts of any size and can assure you that 100% of your donation will go toward supporting the prevention work we do in the community.
Perhaps you want to get involved in a major way and have some time to spare. If that sounds like you, consider joining our Prevention Action Collaborative of Gwinnett (PAC-G), our diverse group of community stakeholders who meet to discuss issues and projects related to prevention in Gwinnett. For more information on this, please reach out to Michael Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org. However you choose to invest, you are impacting communities and making prevention possible.
- D – Discover new ways to stay active and healthy.
A simple way to celebrate National Prevention Week is by participating in activities that encourage a healthy lifestyle. The best part is that you can do this all year long! Have you ever wanted to explore a new place outdoors but haven’t known where to begin? If you live in Gwinnett County, check out Parks and Recreation and Live Healthy Gwinnett for parks close to you, wellness activities and upcoming local events to attend. Get outdoors and get active!
In addition to exercise, you can stay healthy by eating well. If you’re not sure where to begin, visit MyPlate.gov where you can learn strategies for eating well on a budget and how to build a balanced meal plan.
We also have a series of blog posts on incorporating health and wellness activities in your routine that begins here.
- E – Encourage the youth in your life to make healthy decisions and engage in positive extracurricular activities.
Parents are the #1 influence in a youth’s decision not to drink underage or do drugs. That’s a really big deal. Having open, honest discussions with youth about substance use can help them learn the dangers of drugs and strategies for dealing with peer pressure. If you have youth in your life, being a positive, supportive role model for healthy behavior can make a big difference. Adults play a major part in preventing underage drinking. An easy but significant way parents can support prevention is by ensuring family mealtimes at home, which produces positive developmental benefits for youth. You can also make it a priority to have ongoing conversations with your teens about substance use, peer pressure and making healthy choices. In addition, adults can try to encourage youth to join sports, clubs and other afterschool programs. Youth who engage in positive, productive, meaningful opportunities are less likely to be making high-risk decisions like using substances.
In honor of National Prevention Week, take a few minutes to think about why prevention is important to you. Utilize some of the ideas above to join in on the action this week and year-round. When you celebrate prevention, you’re helping GUIDE build safer and healthier communities.