National Substance Abuse Awareness Month: A Call to Action

Nomi Health
Nomi Health
October 27, 2023

National Substance Abuse Awareness Month, observed every October, is a critical time to acknowledge and address the substance use disorder epidemic happening across the country. This blog post delves into the history of this month, current statistics on substance use, and actionable steps individuals can take to help themselves and others.

The History of National Substance Abuse Awareness Month

National Substance Abuse Awareness Month traces its roots back to a powerful movement in the United States to combat substance use disorder and raise awareness of its devastating effects. The month was officially established in 1989 by President Ronald Reagan. This initiative aimed to shed light on the alarming rise of substance use and its impact on individuals, families, and communities. Since then, every October serves as a platform to educate, advocate, and mobilize resources to fight this complex issue.

Current Statistics on Substance Use Disorders

To understand the urgency of this ongoing battle, it's essential to examine the latest statistics surrounding substance use disorders:

  • The Opioid Epidemic: Opioid abuse continues to claim lives across the nation. In 2020, over 93,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, a record high, largely driven by the opioid crisis.
  • Alcohol Abuse: Alcohol misuse is widespread, with over 14 million adults having an Alcohol Use Disorder. This affects not only the individual but their families and communities as well.
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse: Substance abuse often co-occurs with mental health disorders. Nearly 9.5 million adults had both a mental health disorder and substance use disorder in 2020.
  • Youth and Substance Abuse: The younger population is not immune. In 2020, more than 4.5 million youth aged 12-17 reported a past-year alcohol use disorder, and 1.5 million had a past-year illicit drug use disorder.

Actions to Take to Help Yourself and Others

National Substance Abuse Awareness Month is more than just a time for raising awareness; it's a call to action. Here are some steps you can take to help yourself and those around you:

  • Educate Yourself: Start by understanding the different substances and their effects. Knowledge is a powerful tool for prevention and intervention.
  • Open Dialogue: Encourage open and non-judgmental conversations about substance abuse with friends and family. Offer support, not condemnation.
  • Seek Help: If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Treatment options are available, and recovery is possible.
  • Promote Prevention: Support local organizations and initiatives that focus on substance abuse prevention, especially in schools and communities.
  • Destigmatize: Help reduce the stigma around addiction. It is a disease, not a moral failing. Individuals suffering from addiction deserve empathy and treatment.
  • Community Involvement: Get involved in local events and activities during National Substance Abuse Awareness Month to show your support and solidarity.
  • Advocate for Change: Support policies and legislation that address substance abuse and mental health issues. Advocate for better access to treatment and rehabilitation services.
  • Share Resources: Share information and resources on substance abuse with your networks, spreading awareness and understanding.

National Substance Abuse Awareness Month serves as a reminder that we all play a crucial role in addressing the issue of substance use disorder. By educating ourselves, engaging in open conversations, and advocating for change, we can contribute to the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Let us remember that recovery is possible, and together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by SUD.

Success Care

At Nomi Health, we take seriously our role and mission in creating programs that ensure everyone has access to affordable and quality care. Our Success Care program is a substance use disorder care program that is patient-first and hyper-personalized. We use an integrated care model to bridge clinical and social care needs. On top of our highly qualified clinical team, we work with peer support mentors who have shared lived experience and provide excellent support to our patients.  

Learn more about the program here.