Know More Kansas

National Substance Abuse Prevention Month 2022

This year, we’re bringing back the #IChooseToday theme for National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. Youth are encouraged to make choices today that will benefit their future selves – those that promote health, well-being, and personal values. 

More and more teens are choosing to remain substance-free, increasing their options today and as they age.  #IChooseToday can also be used to celebrate times with family members and loved ones who have overcome addiction.


October was first declared as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month in 2011.

The month is dedicated to: 

  • Highlight the vital role of substance abuse prevention in both individual and community health 
  • To remember those who have lost their lives to substance abuse 
  • To acknowledge those in recovery, as well as children, parents, family, and friends supporting them 
  • Educate that the earlier a person begins using a tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs the likelier that person is to develop an addiction

Recent Data

The 2021 national “Monitoring the Future” survey overview prioritized the following information:

  • Marijuana and hallucinogen use among young adults was at an all-time high in 2021
  • Screening for substance use disorder in teens may help predict adult prescription drug use and misuse and prevent overdose
  • The percentage of students reporting alcohol use in the past year decreased significantly for 10th and 12th grade students, but remained stable for 8th graders 
  • Significant declines in student substance use were reported across a wide range of drugs including tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, and non-medical use of amphetamines, tranquilizers, and prescription opioids 
  • At home here in Kansas, students reported an all-time low in reported recent use of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco, dating back to 1995 (   

KCTC Student Survey Data

KCTC Student Survey data indicates decreasing prevalence of regular substance use among youth in recent history, as evidenced among surveyed 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in Kansas reporting: 

  • Past 30-day alcohol use has trended down from 32% in 1995 to 9% in 2022 
  • Past 30-day marijuana use has remained relatively stable from 8% in 1995 to 4% in 2020 
  • Past 30-day methamphetamine use has decreased since the question was first asked in 1997, from 2.4% to 0.15% in 2022 
  • Past 30-day tobacco use through smoked cigarettes has trended down from 18% in 1995 to 1% in 2020

Strategies for Educating Youth About Substance Abuse

Talking about drugs and alcohol with youth and young adults can be a difficult task, but National Substance Abuse Prevention Month can give parents, caregivers, and other adults a good opportunity for the topic.  Most people don’t know as much about addiction and brain development as we think, and yet it’s important to lead without lecturing. 

Here are some tips recommended for talking with youth and young adults this month, and throughout the year- 

  • Pick a good time for the conversation when time is less limited, and you are all calm 
  • Ask youth and young adults to share what they’ve been told about the subject and what they believe 
  • Ask about reasons most youth and young adults avoid addiction and other substance use disorders 
  • Discuss reasons to avoid drugs with education if needed, especially about the importance of delaying the age of initiation to reduce the likelihood of addiction 
  • Brainstorm ways to resist peer pressure if that is a challenge 
  • Share your own experiences if asked, and if you’ve been successful at living drug-free explain why and how. If you’ve experimented or misused substances, share what you’ve learned and any advice you have to offer 

Connecting the Dots

As we continue to promote the KPC Conference them “Connect the Dots” in recognition of the benefits of bringing together strengths and strategies to prevent substance abuse, suicide, problem gambling, and other behavioral health concerns, we are also highlighting the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s (NCTSN) focus on National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. 

Want to get involved in substance abuse and misuse prevention? Want to know what is happening in your part of the state?  

Check out the KPC Coalition in your area: