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Building healthier communities through substance use disorder prevention


SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week, which takes place from May 12-18, 2024, highlights the importance of early prevention — something that Jamie Daniels Foundation focuses on with coping skills and mindfulness training for local youth.

By Stacey Winconek

A startling 48.7 million people aged 12 or older reported having a substance use disorder in the past year, according to the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). And research shows that 90% of them started engaging in substance use before their 18th birthday.

When it comes to determining a person’s likelihood of developing a substance use disorder, there are risk factors and protective factors to consider. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “risk factors are characteristics at the biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precede and are associated with a higher likelihood of negative outcomes.”

Protective factors are seen as positive countering events that reduce the impact of risk factors. Individual-level protective factors include positive self-image, self-control and social competence, strong coping skills and mindfulness. Nurturing and cultivating these factors can diminish the probability of developing a substance use disorder.

Prevention and early intervention are key to reducing substance use disorders, and from May 12-18, 2024, SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week shines light on substance use prevention and how health organizations and agencies can come together to help build healthier communities.

The Jamie Daniels Foundation is well-regarded for their work in adolescent, teen and young adult recovery, specifically their support of multiple collegiate recovery programs and for their substantial investment in the Adolescent Addiction Recovery Center in Troy. But the Jamie Daniels Foundation recognizes the importance of investing in prevention programming to proactively avert the development of substance use disorders before they arise.

Research shows that promoting protective factors can improve a child’s social and emotional well-being and reduce the likelihood of substance use disorders. That’s where the teaching of mindfulness and coping skills through yoga come in. In the last 18 months, the Jamie Daniels Foundation has helped to bring this yoga training to eight elementary and middle schools across Oakland County. These schools include Anderson Middle School, Norup International, West Bloomfield Middle School, Doherty Elementary, Gretchko Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, Scotch Elementary and Sheiko Elementary.

Providing coping and mindfulness techniques through yoga benefit the physical and mental health of school-aged children between 6 and 12 years old, Harvard Health Publishing notes. Research indicates improvements in focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and reduced anxiety and stress. In a substance abuse prevention program, therapeutic yoga aims to enhance distress tolerance, helping students handle minor discomfort, build confidence, set limits, and make healthier choices.

“Prevention is a key pillar of our work,” said Jamie Daniels Foundation Executive Director, Chris Perry. “We know these education and prevention programs will help provide kids the tools they need to avoid turning to substances to manage their stress and anxiety, providing the ‘protective factors’ needed to avoid initial use.”

Providing students a toolkit for success to avoid substance use is essential — not just during National Prevention Week, but every day of the year.


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