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May is a good time host prevention-themed events

By Bill Spitzer

P & I Coordinator Parenting Resource Center

Did you know according to a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) survey that adolescents and full-time college students most often use substances for the first time during June or July?

That is one reason why May is a perfect opportunity for schools and communities to host prevention themed events. That is why APAC selected May to finally share with the community what the truth is about alcohol consumption among our young people.  More specifically we will share what high school students think about underage consumption.  If you thought I was going to let the “cat out of the bag”, well you will have to wait a week longer and check out that billboard near you.

During the month of May, many other organizations will be promoting safety messages dealing with our health and wellbeing.  The topics will range from substance abuse to mental health, most will include subjects we should promote all year long.  During National Prevention week, which is officially May 15-20, prevention tips will be highlighted for many different substances each day of that week.  These tips can be as simple as checking your medicine cabinet for prescription drugs no longer needed to talking with your children about the harmful effects of underage consumption of alcohol.

The most important part about prevention week is you.  Your participation is the key to its success! Whether you are disposing of those old prescription drugs properly at our local drop box located at the Austin Police Department, launching your own social media campaign highlighting each prevention day or organizing a health awareness stand at a local business, building a healthy and resilient community should be our goal.

There are plenty of ideas for planning and hosting a prevention event by visiting the SAMHSA website and clicking on the toolkit: https://www.samhsa.gov/prevention-week/about . The theme for National Prevention Week this year is “Making Each Day Count.”  Each day we have the opportunity to impact the lives of others, prevention is just one way we can impact those around us in a positive way.  Prevention week reminds me of the Joanne C. Jones story about the cleaning lady.  The story ends with this statement that clearly sums up how we make a difference in the lives of others.

“In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘Hello’.”

Bill Spitzer is the Planning and Implementation (P & I) Coordinator working closely with APAC (Austin Positive Action Coalition).  APAC and Bill will be working with our schools and community as part of a 5-year grant focusing on Positive Community Norms.  Feel free to contact him at the Austin High School 507.460.1800 ext. 0361 or via e-mail bill.spitzer@austin.k12.mn.us.  This grant is made possible by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, ADAD and hosted locally by the PRC.  To learn more about the Parenting Resource, visit their website at www.familiesandcommunities.org