"We cannot stagger to freedom."
In seminars, I ask audiences, “What is the reason that African American History Month is in February?” There is always a pause, followed by the same answer, “Because it’s the shortest month of the year,” which brings about laughter. The answer, though, to why African American History Month is in February is to honor the birthdays of AbrahamLincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14). Douglas was the first prominent American recovering alcoholic (White, Sanders, Sanders, 2006). Douglass was also the leader of the Black Temperance movement. This history has been shared with audiences of addictions counselors and inmates in prisons (disproportionately African Americans with substance use disorders). Most are unaware of this history, and many are inspired by it.
This week, January 23-29, NIDA's National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week returns to shatter the myths that contribute to underage drinking and experimentation with other drugs and tobacco.
Teens are bombarded with conflicting messages that can leave them feeling confused and unsure of who to ask for information about drug use. With 12.9% of 12th graders reporting abuse of prescription drugs in the past year and 21.3% reporting use of marijuana in the past month, there is no better time than now to help teens understand the serious consequences of drug and alcohol use (data is from the Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs).
Editor, NIATx and ATTC Network Coordinating Office
Image: CDC Injury Prevention & Control
States across the country are taking a variety of actions to
respond to the opioid crisis. Forty-nine states have established Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs
that track prescription and dispensing data as a way to reduce misuse and
diversion, particularly of prescription pain medication.
Three states, Maine,
Washington, and Massachusetts, have added additional regulations that limit the
daily amount of opioid pain medications doctors can prescribe. Maine’s law, the
most restrictive of the three states’, went into effect this month. It sets a
100 morphine milligram equivalent (MME) for new patients, and 300 MME for
The law does not place daily MME limits on medications
prescribed for treating substance use disorders. It’s intended to keep people
with chronic pain from the taking higher doses of opioid pain medication that
increase the risk of overdose and death.