National Prevention Week


What is National Prevention Week? National Prevention Week is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. 

The three primary goals of National Prevention Week are to:

  1. Involve communities in raising awareness about behavioral health issues and implementing prevention strategies;
  2. Foster partnerships and collaboration with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to behavioral and public health; and
  3. Promote and disseminate quality behavioral health resources and publications.

National Prevention Week is held each year during the third week of May—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 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data on adolescents – 2012 (PDF | 704 KB) and NSDUH data on full-time college students – 2015 (PDF | 1.2 MB). The timing of National Prevention Week provides an opportunity for schools and organizations to host prevention-themed events before the school year ends, raising awareness about this important issue among students and their families. These are key periods of social transitions, a risk factor for youth substance use, and an opportunity to develop or strengthen the community, school, and family bonds that protect young people from substance use. More information can be found in The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health (PDF | 12 MB).

Daily Themes:

Six of the seven days during NPW have a suggested health topic that organizations and coalitions can use to guide the focus of community events:

  • Monday, May 14: Promotion of Mental Health & Wellness
  • Tuesday, May 15: Prevention of Underage Drinking & Alcohol Misuse
  • Wednesday, May 16: Prevention of Prescription & Opioid Drug Misuse
  • Thursday, May 17: Prevention of Illicit Drug Use & Youth Marijuana
  • Friday, May 18: Prevention of Suicide
  • Saturday, May 19: Prevention of Youth Tobacco Use

Following are links and the 2018 NH Guide providing a variety of activities that will engage both adults and young people for National Prevention Week. The tools provided will give young people an opportunity to get involved in their community, as well as give adults a chance to network within their own communities.

2018 Prevention Challenge: Dear Future Me

What would you say to your future self about what you’re doing today to ensure a healthier tomorrow? Share your answer by joining the NPW 2018 Prevention Challenge: Dear Future Me!

How to Participate

  • Write a letter or draw a picture about the choices you’re making to live a healthy, happy life.
  • Take a picture of your letter or record a video of yourself reading your letter.
  • Share it on social media using the hashtag #DearFutureMe and #NPW2018.
  • Tag a few friends so they can participate and add their Dear Future Me letter to the NPW conversation.
  • Share any or all of the Dear Future Me videos on social media to encourage others to participate as well.


Other Helpful Resources:

If you or someone you know is experiencing an addiction-related crisis, call 2-1-1.