National Prevention Week – A Celebration of Possibility

News Release
For Immediate Release: 5/15/2024

Erin Maier, (531) 893-1359

Lincoln, NE – The Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recognizes May 12 – 18 as National Prevention Week.  

The focus of National Prevention Week is to promote positive change through increased awareness, education, and collaboration to improve the well-being of the community and promote preventative resources for substance use and mental health challenges.

“This week highlights the importance of raising awareness for substance use prevention resources to create stronger and healthier Nebraska communities," said Tony Green, Interim Director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “Together we can take steps to reduce stigma and encourage individuals to seek help and find support by spreading awareness, normalizing the conversation about substance use, and sharing prevention, treatment, and recovery resources."

National Prevention Week is an opportunity for us to challenge ourselves to shift the way we think about mental health and substance use disorders while identifying actions that individuals and communities can take to prevent these conditions.

Important prevention resources:

  • For a mental health challenge, call or text 988, or chat
  • Opioid overdose deaths can be prevented with Naloxone, a medicine that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose within two to three minutes. More than one dose of Naloxone may be required when stronger opioids like fentanyl are involved.
  • You can find an up-to-date list of pharmacies enrolled in the No Cost Naloxone program on the Nebraska Pharmacist Association's Stop Overdose Nebraska website at
  • If you need help talking to your child or teen, call the Nebraska Family Helpline – Any question, any time. (888) 866-8660
  • If you are in a rural area and need mental health resources close to home, call the Rural Response Hotline, (800) 464-0258

Unsure about how to approach a conversation about substance misuse? Here are some things to consider:

  • Even though an individual may know that using substances may be unhealthy for them, coping with trauma, enhancing performance, and experiencing the feeling of pleasure or a “high" are common reasons people may use substances. 
  • Stigma can be a large barrier to addressing a substance misuse or mental health challenge and seeking help. An individual could be experiencing fear or feeling incapable of making a change.
  • Word choice and delivery matters. Individuals may be more receptive to a neutral tone of voice, open-ended questions, and person-first language – keeps the focus on the individual, not their challenge. 

Important drug and alcohol facts to know:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average number of deaths from excessive alcohol use increased 30% from 138,000 in 2016-2017 to 178,000 in 2020 – 2021.
  • About 31% of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States are caused by drunk drivers, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 g/dL or higher.
  • One packet of sugar is the same size as 16 methamphetamines “meth" doses.
  • Nicotine in any form is highly addictive, and many who start using one form of nicotine, such as vaping, transition to another form of nicotine use such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or cigars.
  • Alcohol is the number one substance of use and misuse in Nebraska based on treatment data.
  • The component of the cannabis (marijuana) plant that is psychotropic or produces a “high" is called THC. Medical research shows that up to one in five medical marijuana users develop an addiction to cannabis (cannabis use disorder).
  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is commonly mixed with other drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Drugs may contain deadly levels of fentanyl, and you would not be able to see it, taste it, or smell it.
  • According to the CDC, approximately 2.7 million Americans report living with opioid use disorder.

There are laws in Nebraska to protect individuals who are taking action to help individuals experiencing an opioid-related overdose in their community by administering Naloxone.

  • Under Nebraska law, any person, who in good faith, administers naloxone to someone they reasonably believe is suffering an opioid-related overdose is protected from criminal or administrative actions.
  • Under Nebraska law, a person who makes a good faith 911 call in response to a drug overdose of another person or for themselves remains at the scene until emergency personnel arrives, and cooperates with medical and law enforcement personnel is not in violation of the statutes prohibiting possession or distribution of a controlled substance or possession of drug paraphernalia if the only evidence of these crimes is obtained as a result of the drug overdose and the 911 call.
  • Under Nebraska law, a bystander who provides care during an emergency has protection from payment of civil damages for any harm caused by the care or lack of care. 

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