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National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW)

Written by Kailyn Tomilin MPH

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is an annual observance launched in 2010 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week provides an opportunity to promote education and highlight the facts surrounding substance use.

In October 2023, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released data from the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Key survey findings show nearly 50 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year; of this population, over 2 million are youth ages 12-17 (SAMHSA, 2023).

Another finding from the survey shows that in 2022, 3.2 million youth aged 12-17 reported using opioids in the past month, of which 117,000 also reported misuse (SAMHSA, 2023). These figures indicate a need to engage people who use drugs (PWUD) in treatment at a young age and increase prevention strategies among youth.

NSDUH data shows that the rates of opioid use and misuse among youth have decreased from 2021 to 2022. However, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that unintentional overdose among this population has steadily increased over the years (2022). According to the CDC, from 2019 to 2021, median monthly overdose deaths among adolescents increased 109%; approximately 90% of those deaths involved opioids, and 84% involved illicitly manufactured fentanyl (CDC, 2022). An analysis from NIDA also shows that quarterly unintentional overdose death rates among youth aged 15-19 have increased from the end of 2021 through 2022 (NIDA, 2024).

Research shows that initiation of substance use before the age of 14 is associated with a higher risk of developing dependence later in life (Jordan, et. al., 2016). One study showed that among individuals admitted to treatment centers for substance use, about 74% began their use before the age of 17 (Poudel, et al., 2017).

Education for individuals, especially youth, of the risks associated with substance use is crucial for preventing and managing harm. To learn more facts about opioids and other drugs, visit the MATTERS website:


Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA). (2023, November 13). HHS, Samhsa Release 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Data.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, December 15). Drug overdose deaths among persons aged 10–19 years – United States, July 2019–December 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2024, February 13). Unintentional drug overdose death rates among us youth aged 15-19. National Institutes of Health.

Jordan, C. J., & Anderson, S. L. (2016, October 29). Sensitive periods of substance abuse: Early risk for the transition to dependence. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.,or%20dependence%20later%20in%20life.

Poudel, A., & Gautam, S. (2017). Age of onset of substance use and psychosocial problems among individuals with substance use disorders. BMC psychiatry, 17(1), 10.