UPSON COUNTY, GA – April 29, 2021 – National Prevention Week (NPW) is a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supported annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. National Prevention Week will be observed May 9 – 15, 2021.
SAMHSA holds NPW in May each year as it is near the start of summer, an important time for school, communities, and prevention professionals to re-focus on prevention. Adolescents and full-time college students most often use substances for the first time during June or July, according to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data. Having local resources and programs to prevent our youth from partaking in dangerous substance use is vital and that’s where Beyond The Bell Upson County gets involved.
The organization’s mission is to reduce the early onset of alcohol, drug, and substance abuse among 9-20 year-olds in our county. This local organization makes prevention happen every day – not just during NPW – but NPW is the perfect time to promote and celebrate a year’s worth of prevention efforts, as well as provide resources and programs to strengthen current initiatives for at-risk youth.
According to data provided by the Georgia Student Health Survey, 13.04% of youth surveyed in Upson County had a least one drink of alcohol in the past 30 days in 2018, while 2020 data concludes that 7.4% of youth admitted to drinking in the past 30 days. In the past 2 years, data supports that underage drinking in youth has decreased by 43.3%. Additionally, 8.3% of youth surveyed in Upson County had used marijuana in the past 30 days in 2018, while 5.13% of youth reported smoking marijuana in 2020, decreasing by 38.2% in the last 2 years.
Beyond The Bell is the only youth substance abuse prevention organization in Upson County and through their initiatives to reach and educate young people in the county, it is evident from the provided data that their dedicated work has had an enormous impact on marijuana and alcohol use amongst local teens.
“This week provides a timely opportunity to recognize the benefits of our efforts and push awareness about the important issue of substance use among students. Social transitions provide a risk factor for youth substance use, so it is more important than ever to strengthen the community bonds that we have set up to protect young people from substance use and strengthen community health overall,” said Amanda Smith, Region 6 Coordinator of Beyond The Bell Upson County. “For more resources on prevention and the programs and resources we offer, please visit our website or follow us on social media @beyondthebellupsoncounty.”
Along with the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), Beyond The Bell provides tools and evidence-based strategies to train, educate, and support youth and families in the prevention of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use and abuse in the local community.
For more information about Beyond The Bell and its programs/resources, please visit www.beyondthebellkids.org.
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