Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Youth substance abuse prevention part of national strategy

As part of the federal Affordable Care Act (health care reform), the first ever National Prevention Strategy was recently released.  The Strategy's goal is to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life.

One of the Strategy's priorities is preventing drug abuse and excessive alcohol use.  Preventing underage drinking is included.  Among its recommendations under this priority are:

-- the implementation and enforcement of alcohol control policies.  "States with more stringent alcohol control policies tend to have lower levels of binge drinking among adults and college students.  Evidence-based policies that decrease excessive alcohol use and related harms include those that prohibit the sale of alcohol to minors and intoxicated persons; reduce days and hours of sale; and limit the number of places that legally sell alcohol."

-- create environments that help young people avoid drugs and alcohol.  This includes reducing youth exposure to alcohol marketing. 

-- identify drug and alcohol problems early and provide intervention, referral, and treatment.

-- reduce inappropriate access to prescription drugs. 

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