National Prevention Week usually occurs every year in the month of May and is hosted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA). It's a week where thousands nationwide recognize the importance of prevention efforts. This year it occured from May 10th-May 16th, 2020.
This year, with COVID-19 occurring and social distancing mandates in place, RAM teamed up with many other providers in LA County to ensure we still recognize the importance of prevention.
While following safer at home instructions and many youth milestones being canceled, such as graduations, birthdays, senior activities, many youth are experience feelings of uneasiness, worries, stress, and overwhelmed. As providers, we are seeing and hearing that many young people are using substances, such as cannabis, to cope with their feelings.
During National Prevention Week, our RAM Media Chair, Belinda Ordaz, also the Prevention Coordinator for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-ESGPV, spoke about the importance of preventing youth marijuana use during the LA County Virtual National Prevention Week Celebrations:
"With the legalization of marijuana happening in many of our communities, and all throughout California, marijuana is being normalized for many of our youth. As educators, we know this can have negative health consequences for our youth long term. It is important that we have real and honest conversations with our youth in our lives and share with them the effects of marijuana, while at the same time listening to them share their experiences and how it affects them".Belinda Ordaz, RAM Media Chair
During the same Virtual Celebration, we also had a student, Antoine (pictured left during the event), share his story. Antoine is part of an alcohol and other drugs work group with the Latino Prevention Project –CHCADA, called FUTURO (Families United to Uphold Responsible Ordinances). Antoine shared his experiences with marijuana use. He shared how he struggled with marijuana use but was able to stop using with the help of FUTURO and resources from the LACountyRAM website.
He shares that he continues to help his peers become educated on the negative effects of marijuana use and is thankful for FUTURO and the RAM Coalition for helping him.
If you need resources for yourself, or a loved one, feel free to contact us here and we can connect you with a provider in your area who can support you.
We hope to see you during next years National Prevention Week!