City Proclaims National Addictions Awareness Week

Edmonton, November 15, 2010 - The City of Edmonton is marking National Addictions Awareness Week (NAAW) with a focus on preventing youth from getting hooked on drugs, alcohol and other harmful substances. "By engaging youth, providing parents and other caregivers with resources and collaborating with our partners, we can help our young people live an addictions-free lifestyle," said Councillor Bryan Anderson who proclaimed the week at Edmonton City Hall. "Addictions are linked to many other problems - like crime, violence, poverty, and homelessness. To create a safer city, we must reduce the incidence of addiction and help those affected." In Alberta, more than 36,000 people sought treatment in 2007-2008 for addictions to substances and activities like alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, prescription drugs and gambling according to Alberta Health Services. The population of Edmonton is becoming more diverse and is home to one of the youngest populations in the country. According to Alberta Health Services, youth and young adults aged 15 to 24 years make up the highest percentage of the population that experience personal harm from addictions. "National Addictions Awareness Week is an opportunity to remind people of the prevalence of addictions in our community and where those affected can get help," said Sheldon Rayner, local NAAW planning committee member. On the evening of November 16, Edmontonians are invited to the NAAWscars Gala, a community screening of winning entries in an "addictions-free" commercial contest. Youth and adults have created videos that promote an addictions-free lifestyle. National Addictions Awareness Week was conceptualized in 1987 by Nechi Training, Research & Health Promotions Institute. This year, Nechi is holding several events to mark National Addictions Awareness Week, including a Tea Dance, a Candle Light Vigil, an Indigenous Healthy Living Walk and a Round Dance. The City of Edmonton, REACH Edmonton and Alberta Health Services are three of many partners coordinating efforts to address the issue of addictions. Drawing on the expertise of a number of partners and community members, the Integrated Community Approach to Addictions in Edmonton is building on initiatives already in place while identifying gaps in current addiction prevention efforts. For example, a toolkit to help parents talk to kids about drugs and alcohol was translated into several languages after the need was identified. For more information: Jonathan Clark Member, National Addictions Awareness Committee REACH Edmonton 780-496-6361