National Prevention Week aims to reduce substance abuse in communities

BLUEFIELD, WV (WOAY) – This week is National Prevention Week, which aims to raise awareness about drug abuse and the toll it puts on communities. 

Mike McPherson, a lieutenant at the Bluefield Police Department, says that abuse prevention week is a great way to educate people about the dangers of drug abuse. 

“It’s just to try to educate people about drugs, the effects of drugs and what it can do to you, your family and your life,” McPherson said. 

According to McPherson, drug abuse tends to spiral out of control the more someone partakes in it. His best suggestion is to simply avoid substance abuse in the first place. 

“I think the most important thing of abuse prevention is to not get involved with the drugs to begin with. Because once you do it’s much more difficult once that addiction occurs.”

West Virginia has been known to be a hot spot for drug abuse, and simply telling people to not abuse drugs has proven to not be enough. If someone is seriously addicted to drugs, they have plenty of state-wide resources to reach out to for help. 

“Hotlines you can call to speak with someone, counseling, and then there’s programs you can get into that’ll actually take you into a residential-type in-patient treatment program for ones that are really addicted.”

Another issue with substance abuse is how young of an age it can start at. Most research shows abuse often starts in early teenage years. 

“Peer pressure and stuff with children that are wanting you to try something, drugs or anything like that. My best advice is do not ever do it the first time.”

If you know someone struggling with abuse, point them in the right direction of resources like Help 4 West Virginia, which is a 24 hour hotline, or a local addiction treatment center. 

Prevention Week was created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and lasts until May 16.