What Is National Substance Use Prevention Month?

In 2011, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, proclaimed the 10th month of the year National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. The proclamation called “upon all Americans to engage in appropriate programs and activities to promote comprehensive substance abuse prevention efforts within their communities.”

While it is important to prevent substance misuse year-round, the month of October offers a chance to highlight prevention strategies, encourage community engagement, and connect people to a common cause.

During the month, there are also specific weeks with more focused awareness goals.

National Addiction Treatment Week: October 16-22

National Addiction Treatment Week aims to promote a better understanding of addiction as a treatable disease. It raises awareness that addiction is a chronic disease that can be treated and not a moral failing—as many mistakenly believe. Shining a spotlight on addiction treatment can help end the stigma and save lives.

Red Ribbon Week: October 23-31

During Red Ribbon Week, people wear red ribbons to raise awareness about the deadly impact drugs have on communities in America. The goal is to encourage individuals and communities to educate youth about drugs and alcohol and facilitate drug prevention events and activities.

The chosen theme for 2023’s Red Ribbon Week is “Be Kind to Your Mind. Live Drug Free.” Communities and schools across America schedule theme days and host activities to increase awareness about how being drug-free can keep people healthy and alive.

How Can You Get Involved in Your Community?

There are several ways to participate in Substance Use Prevention Month. It can be as simple as attending a scheduled event or starting a conversation with another person.

Talk to Others About Substance Use

Preventing substance misuse can begin with a conversation. Talk to others—especially those who are underage—about how to make healthy choices and the consequences of substance use. If you aren’t sure what to say, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a toolkit.

You can also take a look at Laguna’s resources for helping others with addiction.

Attend an Event

In honor of Substance Use Prevention Month, events are held in the Orange County area of Southern California. Here are just some of the opportunities to get involved:

Walk Against Drugs: Saturday, 10/21/2023
This year marks the 35th Annual Walk Against Drugs, which is sponsored by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Mission Viejo.
More info.

Red Ribbon Parade & National Night Out: Monday, 10/23/2023
The City of San Clemente will host its annual Red Ribbon Parade as well as the National Night Out expo. This is a free, family-friendly community event.
More info.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Southern California

If you or someone you love are in need of treatment for problematic substance use, immediate help is available. Laguna Treatment, a drug and alcohol rehab in Orange County, CA, provides specialized treatment for addiction.

Recovery from addiction is possible, and you don’t have to do it alone. We are here for you 24/7. Please reach out for help today.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

The Best Place to Recover in Orange County
We are here to help you get sober and learn how to stay that way. Laguna Treatment Center is located in Orange County within easy reach of the entire Los Angeles metro. We are the premier chemical dependency recovery hospital in the OC. We offer safe medical detox, mental health support, and wellness programs.