National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week to be Held Jan. 22-27

News Release
For Immediate Release: 1/22/2019

Julie Naughton, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-1695 (office); (402) 405-7202 (cell);

Note: There is a Facebook Live on this topic Friday, Jan. 25, 2-2:30 pm CST at

Lincoln – While alcohol use by Nebraska high school students has dropped from 53.4 percent in 1991 to 24.4 percent in 2017, the Division of Behavioral Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is aiming to cut that number even more. During National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week - Tuesday, January 22 through Sunday, January 27 – the Division will highlight prevention, recovery and educational efforts, including a Facebook Live event with Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at DHHS.

The aim of National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, launched in 2010 by scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse is to link teenagers and young adults with scientists and other experts to counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol that teens get from the internet, social media, TV, movies, music, or from peers.

The perceptions Nebraska teenagers and young adults have about drinking are often mistaken, Dawson noted. “In 2016, young adults believed that half (49.7 percent) of their peers binge drank alcohol in the past 30 days, which is higher than the percentage that actually binge drank (37.4 percent)," said Dawson. “In addition, young adults believed that nearly one in three (30.5 percent) of their peers drove after binge drinking in the past 30 days, which is much higher than the percentage who reported driving after binge drinking (4.3 percent)."

Alcohol use, especially binge and heavy drinking, is still the most prevalent substance use concern in Nebraska. While there is some cause for optimism - high school binge drinking dropped from 36.9 percent in 1991 to 24.4 percent in 2017 – 37.4 percent of young adults from 19 to 25 years of age reported binge drinking at least once in the past month, a number Dawson is actively working to decrease and a topic she will address during her Facebook Live event on Friday, January 25, from 2 pm to 2:30 pm CST at As well, the National Institutes of Health will hold its 10th annual Drugs and Alcohol Chat Day on Thursday, January 24, from 8 am EST to 6 pm EST. To register, visit

The Division of Behavioral Health has just been awarded a new five-year PFS (Partnerships for Success) grant from SAMHSA, which will provide $1.9 million per year to be used for prevention and treatment programming. This funding targets youth ages 9 to 20 and aims at decreasing underage and binge drinking, as well as reducing the onset or progression of marijuana use. While some activities from the Division's previous five-year grant are being continued or sustained, new programs or initiatives within behavioral health regions will soon be implemented, including:

  • Life of an Athlete Human Performance Project - This program aims to change school climates and behaviors that address nutrition, sleep, stress, drugs, and alcohol using science-based information.
  • Challenging College Alcohol Abuse - A social norms and environmental management program aimed at reducing high-risk drinking and negative consequences among college students.
  • Prevention Plus Wellness - Now including marijuana and vaping prevention, Prevention Plus Wellness is an evidence-based program intended to increase physical activity and reduce alcohol and drug use among high-school students.
  • Alcohol Literacy Challenge - An evidence-based program shown to be effective for reducing alcohol use and disorders and for improving knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about substance use.
  • College Initiatives such as My Student Body and Y1CAP:
    • My Student Body: an online prevention program aimed at reducing the risk of drug and alcohol abuse and sexual violence among college students.
    • A web-based brief intervention program designed to target incoming freshmen's misperceptions of alcohol use prior to coming to campus.
  • Alcohol Compliance Checks and Responsible Beverage Server Trainings - Environmental strategies aimed at reducing underage and binge drinking.
  • Communities Mobilizing for Change - A community organizing program designed to reduce youth access to alcohol by changing community and law enforcement policies, attitudes, and practices.
  • 3rd Millennium - Research-based online alcohol and drug education programs for high school students.
  • Alcohol Density Mapping - An environmental strategy for looking at alcohol outlet density, which is a key risk factor for excessive drinking.
  • Too Good for Drugs and Violence - A K-12 prevention education program designed to mitigate the risk factors and enhance protective factors related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
  • Media Campaigns and Social Media Strategies - Public awareness strategies to engage additional stakeholders outside of those already involved in reducing substance use among youth populations.


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