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National Prevention Week starts on Monday

The Lawton Fort Sill community is encouraged to facilitate discussion about local health issues during National Prevention Week from May 14-19.

An annual health observance sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Prevention Week features a different theme for each day of the week, beginning with the "Promotion of Mental Health and Wellness" on Monday. 

The themes for the rest of the week are: Prevention of Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse on Tuesday, Prevention of Prescription and Opioid Drug Misuse on Wednesday, Prevention of Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana on Thursday, Prevention of Suicide on Friday and Prevention of Youth Tobacco Use on Saturday. 

Kim Booker, a certified prevention specialist for the Wichita Mountains Prevention Network (WMPN), said the goal of the week is to equip residents with knowledge about health issues so they can inform their families, friends and neighbors, who will join their effort to create safer, healthier communities.

The most prominent issue locally is substance abuse, Booker said, and the WMPN has partnered with the Lawton Fort Sill Community Coalition to reduce abuse in Comanche County.

Specifically, the "prevention of underage drinking" is the priority of the WMPN for Comanche County, she said. 

"Alcohol is still the No. 1 abused drug with our youth," Booker said, citing research from the 2016 Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment Survey.

According to the survey, 63.7 percent of 12th graders in Comanche County reported drinking alcohol in their lifetime, and 35.6 percent reported using it in the last 30 days of taking the survey, Booker said.

The Lawton Constitution

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