This month, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is standing with President Obama and our public health partners to celebrate National Substance Abuse Prevention Month (PDF 349KB) in the month of October. As those in the public health community know, the best way to address some of the nation’s biggest health issues is through prevention. Like other chronic diseases, drug addiction can be treated, but the most cost-effective and common-sense approach is to prevent substance abuse before it even begins.
Millions of Americans struggle with substance abuse, and the resulting negative consequences of their addiction also impact their families, friends, neighbors, and communities. In fact, substance abuse touches every sector of our society, straining our health care and criminal justice systems – costing the U.S. as much as $193 billion annually. Prevention is the key to reducing this financial burden and building healthy and safe communities across the country.
Drug users, particularly those who inject, are among the groups with the highest risk of HIV infection. Use of non-injection drugs is also associated with an increased risk for HIV infection, as studies show that drug use may reduce inhibitions and lead users to engage in increased or risky sexual activity. That’s why ONDCP’s National Drug Control Strategy, which provides a blueprint for how the government will work together to reduce drug use and its consequences, is complementary to the White House National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), which is designed to reduce HIV incidence, increase access to care, and reduce health disparities.