Sheriff’s Corner: National Prevention Week is multifaceted
The week of May 15-21 has been designated as National Prevention Week bringing awareness to the many issues that our communities struggle with.
The three primary goals of National Prevention week are:
- To involve communities in raising awareness of behavioral health issues and in implementing prevention strategies.
- To foster partnerships and collaboration with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to behavioral and public health
- To promote and disseminate quality behavioral health resources and publications.
Sunday is marked as Prevention and Cessation of Tobacco Use. We have seen an increase in awareness of the health hazards associated with tobacco use, however there is much work left to do especially in the area of youth tobacco use.
Monday is marked as Prevention of Underage Drinking, which is an issue we have spent many resources in both education and enforcement and continue to reach out to the community, educating our young people about the many dangers and pitfalls of underage alcohol consumption. We have seen successes in this area as we now have the widespread adoption of school codes which hold the students accountable if they make the choice to consume alcohol. This message must be followed through in the home as well so that a consistent message is sent increasing our chance to truly influence our youth.
Tuesday is marked as Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Use. This is notably our biggest challenge in our communities as we continue to see widespread use of varying drugs. Over the years we have seen the popularity of various narcotics come and go, but the presence of drugs in general continues to take its toll on both those who live with the addictions as well as those who die from them. We must continue our vigilance to the suppression and ultimately eradication of these drugs from our communities. These efforts must be two-fold in that we work to eliminate the availability through enforcement while at the same time eliminating the demand through treatment. We are very fortunate to have professionals dedicated to each of these efforts in their respective disciplines.
Wednesday is marked as Prevention of Alcohol Abuse. This issue is separate from prevention of underage alcohol because it is in fact its own serious issue facing those under the legal age as well as those who can legally consume. This issue includes such behaviors as binge drinking, which unfortunately Wisconsin is rated as one of the top states for this behavior. This also brings awareness to alcoholism in general, which has claimed too many marriages, jobs, families, and even lives. Very few of us are able to say we have not seen this sickness affect someone, and we must call awareness to this issue even if that person is not receptive. I have always said, I would rather have someone angry with me and alive than to attend the funeral of a friend.
Thursday is marked for Suicide Prevention. This is not always easy to identify and unfortunately is not recognized until after the tragic event. Our most effective tool to combat suicide is our own daily interaction with those around us. We must always be sensitive to what our family and friends are going through. What might seem like a small matter to us may seem insurmountable to the next person.
Friday is marked as the Promotion of Mental, Emotional, and Behavior Well Being. While our well being in these areas may be directly tied to the decisions we make or the circumstances we find ourselves in, for some it is truly a medical condition. We must all be compassionate to those around us who may be suffering from a mental health condition which in many cases is only manageable through constant medical attention.
For more information, visit the National Substance and Mental Health Services Administration at www.samhsa.gov
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Sheriff's Corner: National Prevention Week is multifaceted