Far too many families across our nation have been affected by drug addiction and the overdose epidemic. In 2020, more than 93,000 people died of overdoses – 93,000 families forced to bury a piece of their soul. The impact of this crisis resonates in communities across the country, in empty classroom chairs and around kitchen tables. During National Youth Addiction Prevention Month, we reaffirm our commitment to helping young Americans overcome this epidemic and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the need for more resources to address substance use disorders. Substance use disorders affect families in all communities, and it is critical that we invest in a wide range of services, including prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery supports to mental health and substance use.
My administration has worked to expand evidence-based prevention programs as well as access to care and recovery support services. We are committed to preventing substance use among our nation’s youth – including alcohol, tobacco products, illicit drugs and misused prescription drugs – by bringing communities together to find local solutions. Through the White House’s Office for National Drug Control Policy, the Supporting Drug-Free Communities program helps equip community coalitions to reduce youth substance use at the local level. We must continue to encourage parents, caregivers, educators and other community members to take an active role in promoting evidence-based prevention efforts that encourage healthy lifestyles, promote alternatives to substance use and educate young people about the harms associated with substance use. We know that delaying substance use until after adolescence, when the brain is fully developed, decreases a person’s likelihood of developing a substance use disorder. We also know that smart investments in effective school-based prevention programs save lives and save our economy money in the form of avoided medical costs and improved productivity.
My administration is also committed to advancing racial equity in our approach to drug policy – implementing fairer, more effective and more culturally appropriate policies to prevent, treat and treat disorders. related to substance use. This is why we support the development of tailor-made tools that strengthen prevention efforts in various communities. These include racial equity training, inclusion and diversity resources, and racial equity decision-making frameworks. Our youth-focused efforts must also take into account that poverty, homelessness, trauma and other negative childhood experiences affect drug use and the overall health of our nation’s youth, particularly in with regard to people of color, who are disproportionately affected by these factors. . By advancing equity in every part of our society – including our education, health care, criminal justice, and housing systems – we can build a future where all Americans can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
In October, we honor all who champion evidence-based youth substance use prevention and recommit ourselves to ensuring that all Americans have the skills, knowledge and resources to lead a full and healthy life. Substance use disorder is a disease, and I will do everything in my power to expand access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery support services. , as well as to reduce the supply of illicit drugs to keep more Americans safe.
THEREFORE I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by authority conferred on me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, hereby proclaim October 2021 as National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month. I call on communities, parents, caregivers, educators, employers, healthcare professionals, law enforcement officials, religious and community leaders, and all Americans to take action to promote prevention evidence-based and improving the health of our nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have appended my signature this thirtieth day of September, in the year of grace two thousand and twenty-one, and of independence of the United States of America on the two hundred and forty-six.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.