From November 17–21, 2014 the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) joins organizations across the country in observing National Addictions Awareness Week (NAAW). Led nationally by CCSA, NAAW highlights issues and solutions to help address alcohol- and other drug-related harm. It provides an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about substance abuse prevention, to talk about treatment and recovery, and to bring forward solutions for change. This year, issues surrounding impaired driving and substance abuse prevention among young people are at the top of the list.
CCSA will also mark the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims on November 19 during NAAW by drawing attention to the growing problem of drug-impaired driving.
Led nationally by CCSA, NAAW brings attention to the critical issues associated with alcohol- and other drug-related harms to individuals, families and communities across Canada. It provides an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about substance abuse prevention, to talk about treatment and recovery, and to bring forward solutions for change. This year, CCSA will mark each day during NAAW by placing emphasis on different substances and youth-related issues, including the use of alcohol, cannabis and prescription drugs, as well as the problem of impaired driving.
Preventing and reducing harms associated with substance use and abuse by our youth is a priority for CCSA and its many partners. A substantial amount of change and growth—including significant brain growth and development—takes place during youth. Additionally, youth 15 to 24 years of age have the highest self-reported past-year use of illicit substances compared to older Canadians, and are approximately five times more likely than adults aged 25 years and older to report harm because of drug use.
Substance use and abuse during this critical time can have impacts that persist long after the high has worn off, including chronic disease, addiction and mental health disorders. Preventing these harms is key to helping reduce the demand on an already strained treatment system. Furthermore, evidence-informed prevention and early intervention programs also reduce the cost of substance abuse to society: analysis shows reported savings of $15–$18 for every dollar spent on drug abuse prevention.