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SAFE Choices: Choose Knowledge

Prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery in the news

Choose knowledge and gain the power to empower with these publications, journals, and reports that pertain to youth substance prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery.

Recent Highlights

Week of September 17, 2023

SAFE Project is honored to join all impacted individuals as they come together during Recovery Month to spread the positive messages that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.

Together, through community driven strategies and person-centered approaches, we are:

  • increasing understanding of mental health and substance use disorders;
  • celebrating individuals in recovery;
  • endorsing recovery as a reality;
  • providing education on sources of help; and
  • sharing inspiring messages of hope.

For more information, browse our full website and follow us on all social media outlets (@safeprojectus).

Week of September 10, 2023

There is no shame in asking for and receiving help for mental health challenges and addiction. During Recovery Month, take action to combat stigma and harvest hope by signing SAFE Project’s No Shame Pledge!

Additional resources available by SAFE Project at no cost to you include the No Shame Education Program and our No Shame Media Toolkit. Together, we can take life-saving steps to Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic and promote recovery in all forms.

Week of September 3, 2023

Individuals across the country are coming together during the month of September to celebrate Recovery Month and to increase awareness of recovery as a reality.

The time is now to create a community of healing by making a conscious choice to meet individuals where they are without blame, shame, or judgement. Together, showing compassion and collaborating, we can Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic.

Learn more about Recovery Month, including valuable resources and social media graphics to help share your story.

Visit Faces and Voices of Recovery for highlights of nationwide collaborative efforts focused on the motto: “Every Person. Every Family. Every Community!”

Week of August 27, 2023

Together, through effective collaborations, we can cultivate resilience and promote wellness across all school years.

To help those engaged with the youth sector — parents, guardians, caretakers as well as schools and youth serving organizations — SAFE Project is happy to provide SAFE Solutions, a one-of-a-kind, online resource that consists of educational materials, innovative approaches, and researched best practices curated by national subject matter experts in addressing challenges pertaining to mental health and substance use disorders.

Find solutions filtered by desired outcomes and/or on the continuum of care (prevention, early intervention, harm reduction, treatment, recovery, and systems).

Week of August 20, 2023

It is never too early to have conversations about health affirming choices. A focused and factual conversation about drugs of abuse and mental health can make all the difference in the life of a child.

Week of August 13, 2023

There is no shame in asking for and receiving help for a substance addiction or mental health conditions. SAFE Project’s No Shame Movement and Education Program can help break the silence by providing the tools for shame-free, life-changing — and quite possibly life-saving — conversations.

Join the No Shame Movement to combat stigma, a leading barrier to seeking help, this school year. Invite your child’s school, teachers, and counselors to join the charge as well. Together, we can empower our youth towards health-affirming choices.

Week of August 6, 2023

With fatal teen overdoses soaring and the mental health crisis among our youth declared a national emergency, we urge you to have intentional and honest conversations with your young loved ones about their mental health and addiction throughout the entire school year.

Week of July 30, 2023

With youth fatal drug overdoses on the rise, SAFE Project wants to provide you — and the youth you care about — with facts and conversation starters that could save a life. Open conversations based on truths are most effective. Putting scare tactics aside and engaging in open dialogue leads to healthier growth in all stages of youth development.

Week of July 23, 2023

Mental health affects how we think, feel, and act. It determines how we handle life situations and circumstances, including how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

Together we can break the barrier for the 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 youth in the United States affected by mental health challenges. These fact sheets and consumer reports are provided for a better understanding of the barriers encountered due in part to poor social determinants of health for racial and ethnic minority populations.

Take a stance in support of impacted individuals. Join SAFE Project’s No Shame Movement and be a part of nationwide efforts to end stigma, another leading barrier to adequate mental health care.

Week of July 16, 2023

This month SAFE Project is recognizing National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and helping to spread the word about achieving better health through better understanding for racial and ethnic minority communities. You can join in advocacy and awareness steps by using the media tools provided by the Office of Minority Health.

Week of July 9, 2023

Racial and ethnic minority youth face unique struggles linked to mental health challenges. You can help address these challenges and the associated stigma through the use of tools including:

Week of July 2, 2023

Throughout July, join SAFE Project as we observe National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority youth face regarding mental health conditions.

Week of June 25, 2023

SAFE Project is joining our partners from RISE TOGETHER in offering a “RISE Resilient” series. The series will consist of weekly YouTube messages containing support for personal wellness. Additionally, ideas and suggestions for healthy alternative activities will be shared that create opportunities to recalibrate and build confidence and resilience while supporting personal mental health and overall wellness.

Week of June 18, 2023

SAFE Project is joining our partners from RISE TOGETHER in offering a “RISE Resilient” series. The series will consist of weekly YouTube messages containing support for personal wellness. Additionally, ideas and suggestions for healthy alternative activities will be shared that create opportunities to recalibrate and build confidence and resilience while supporting personal mental health and overall wellness.

Week of June 11, 2023

SAFE Project is joining our partners from RISE TOGETHER in offering a “RISE Resilient” series. The series will consist of weekly YouTube messages containing support for personal wellness. Additionally, ideas and suggestions for healthy alternative activities will be shared that create opportunities to recalibrate and build confidence and resilience while supporting personal mental health and overall wellness.

Week of June 4, 2023

SAFE Project is joining our partners from RISE TOGETHER in offering a “RISE Resilient” series. The series will consist of weekly YouTube messages containing support for personal wellness. Additionally, ideas and suggestions for healthy alternative activities will be shared that create opportunities to recalibrate and build confidence and resilience while supporting personal mental health and overall wellness.

Week of May 28, 2023

Mental Health conditions and substance addiction often go hand in hand. For a better understanding and to learn myth-busting facts, check out these sites:

Week of May 21, 2023

Mental health is health! In support and recognition of Mental Health Awareness month in May, SAFE Project aims to increase awareness about the vital role mental health plays in our overall health and well-being with the No Shame Movement.

Cristina Leal is a crisis counselor in California. She discusses the current mental health crisis in America, and how we can best support our students as they grow into young adults. SAFE Solutions is your free mental health and substance use disorder strategy and research one-stop shop. Additionally, find a treatment facility that matches your needs or the needs of a loved one with our SAFE Treatment and Family Support Locator.

By calling or texting 988, you’ll by connected with mental health professionals with the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. This three-digit number provides a nationwide connection to a network of professionals that helps people overcome crisis situations.

Week of May 14, 2023

According to the 2020 national survey on drug use and health, 40.3 million Americans had a substance use disorder in the past year, and millions were simultaneously impacted by mental health conditions: 1 in 5 U.S. adults and 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17.

On average, impacted individuals wait 11 years from onset of the symptoms before reaching out for help, and only 18.5% who need treatment are receiving it.

Stigma is one of the leading reasons that individuals do not seek help for substance use disorder and/or mental health conditions. Stigma barricades people from and the tools that can help them on their individual road to recovery.

During the Mental Health Awareness month, SAFE project invites you to join the No Shame Movement. Take a no shame stance – advocate for change, stand up and speak out to combat stigma and make a lifesaving difference.

No Shame Movement Resources brought to you by SAFE Project:

Week of May 7, 2023

This week is Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week, National Prevention Week, as well as Mother’s Day! In recognition of these meaningful events, SAFE Project is featuring author and mother Trish Luna alongside her new book, Lambi Learns About Addiction: A Book About Prevention. Join this mother and all her readers in creating a safe space for difficult conversations where the silence due to stigma and shame are broken and the power of prevention and self care are elevated.

Week of April 30, 2023

Additional resources for candid conversations about alcohol:

Week of April 23, 2023

Additional resources for candid conversations about alcohol:

Week of April 16, 2023

Resources for candid conversations about alcohol:

Week of April 9, 2023

Getting the facts right about alcohol use brings validity to the conversation. Waiting until high school or college is often too late. Talk early and often about adverse risks of underage alcohol consumption. Here are some resources for candid conversations about alcohol:

Week of April 2, 2023

April is National Alcohol Awareness month, which marks a time to have candid conversations about alcohol.

Week of March 26, 2023

National Drug and Alcohol Fact Week for 2023 may have come to an end, but with the realization that “Knowledge is Power to Empower,” arming you with life-saving facts remains our ongoing work. Check out these face-filled resources.

Week of March 19, 2023

This week is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW), an observance that inspires discussion about the science of drug use and addiction among youth. It was launched in 2010 by scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to bring awareness to what science has taught us about drug use and addiction. This special week brings together scientists, students, educators, parents, healthcare providers, and community members to help advance scientific facts relevant in combating youth drug and alcohol use, misuse, and abuse.

Week of March 12, 2023

In recognition of National Drug and Alcohol Facts week, SAFE Project shares facts on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl overdoses are skyrocketing, with the fastest growing age group being teenagers. Get the facts for a life-saving conversation today.

Week of March 5, 2023

In recognition of National Drug and Alcohol Facts week from March 20-26, SAFE Project is honored to provide these lessons learned segments as tools to assist in gaining facts that can inspire lifesaving dialogue and support holistic wellness.

Week of February 26, 2023

Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week continues throughout the entire month of February here at SAFE Project! Our third interview is with Trish Luna, author of Timbi Talks About Addiction. Trish was kind enough to sit down with SAFE Project to talk about Timbi, as well as share advice for parents on how to broach the subjects of addiction with very young children.

Trish wrote this book, initially titled My Daddy Has A Problem, when she was challenged with finding ways to communicate to her very young children about what was going on with their father. Feeling isolated and carrying the weight of stigma, she found comfort in relaying kind words in a rhythmic pattern to her children about a very complicated situation.

When she could not find a publisher willing to work with her on such a book, she put the book aside as her children grew. Years later, facing a very similar set of circumstance but this time with her grandchildren, she pulled the book back out. Seeking advice from individuals in the field, Trish renamed the book and was successful in finding a publisher willing to work with her. Today, this beautiful book written specifically to help the youngest and often the silent victims of addiction, Timbi Talks About Addiction, is comforting children in homes and in schools across the country.

This is a true example of how stories connect us, how they transcend generations, and engage us through human emotional connection. Through stories we can share our passions, sadness, hardships, joy, and our hopes.

Week of February 19, 2023

In an extension of national Children’s Authors and Illustrators week, SAFE Project will continue to bring awareness to authors who write books on substance addiction and mental health with a target audience of young children and youth.

SAFE Project was founded on the principle of storytelling and incorporates stories often throughout our initiatives and lines of operation. Stories help individuals make meaning of life. They help explain how things work, how we make decisions, how we encourage others, how we understand our place in the world, and they help create our identities while defining and teaching principle, value, and worth.

SAFE Project recently sat down with Melody Ray, Author of Someone I Love Died From a Drug Overdose. As a grief counselor, Melody has witnessed the devastating impact that children experience when they lose someone to a substance overdose. Having few resources on the topic for young children, she took her lived experience and authored a beautiful book on the topic.

Week of February 12, 2023

This year’s theme for Black History Month is “Black Resistance,” which calls on us all to study and honor the ways Black people have lifted and protected Black lives in the fight for justice, and in order to establish safe spaces where Black life can be fortified and respected.

At SAFE Project we recognize that the Black community has been underserved and criminalized in our nation’s approach to substance use disorders and continues to be excluded from many recovery supports. Through reflecting on the many ways that racism and substance use stigma have often been paired in our nation’s history, we can all find a role in creating a more equitable future.

We are committed to utilizing our platforms to amplify Black voices and the invaluable role that Black Resistance will play in the undoing of the addiction fatality epidemic. We are also committed to looking inward at the ways we have contributed to oppression, learn from the discomfort that brings, and move forward with humility and a growth mindset. Stay tuned as we share resources, recovery stories from the Black community, and more.

Week of February 5, 2023

This week, which is National Youth Authors and Illustrators week, SAFE Project will begin efforts to bring awareness to authors who write books on substance addiction and mental health. SAFE Project was founded on the principle of storytelling and incorporates stories often throughout our initiatives and lines of operation. Stories serve as a powerful tool: they unite, calm and comfort, inspire advocacy, create the space for dreams, instill hope; and offer help and direction.

Our featured author this week is Jessica Lahey and her book, The Addiction Inoculation. As a teacher, a mother, and an individual in recovery from an alcohol use disorder, Jessica writes words of wisdom for parents and educators about practical prevention steps. SAFE Project recently sat down with Jessica to learn more about her and the inspiration behind her book.

Week of January 29, 2023

In 2020, SAFE Project launched the No Shame Pledge as the basis in the No Shame Movement. In doing so, we became a leader in actions to end the stigma associated to addiction and mental challenges. Individuals who sign the pledge commit to doing their part to stop stigma surrounding addiction and mental health challenges by empowering others, while encouraging care, treatment, and recovery. YOU can make a difference. Join SAFE Project and the thousands of others who have taken the No Shame Pledge.

Week of January 22, 2023

Principle #4 on the No Shame Pledge: For individuals in recovery, I pledge to support them through their lifelong journey to a self-directed, safe, productive and successful life.

Recovery from addiction and mental health challenges involves a, “process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential” (SAMHSA’s working definition). You can be a source of hope and inspiration by first knowing and accepting recovery as an extremely personal journey, one that will take time, and will involve stages of change. Change happens for everyone through stages; to better understand behavioral change, check out this link that introduces the Transtheoretical Model of change:

Week of January 15, 2023

Principle #3 on the No Shame Pledge: I will encourage individuals to seek the help and treatment needed to address addiction and mental health challenges by providing a shame-free environment.

Making a conscious choice to meet individuals where they are without blame, shame, or judgement equates to healing, growth, and wellness. To seek help on a recovery journey requires a lot of courage, strength, and fortitude. Recognizing and applauding positive change and progress goes a long way.

Week of January 8, 2023

Principle #2 on the No Shame Pledge: I commit to learning more about the disease of addiction, the mental health challenges that contribute to it, and to changing the conversation surrounding it.

Learning more about the complex disease of addiction and mental health challenges that can contribute to it is a vital step in changing the conversation. Both addiction and mental health challenges are largely misunderstood, with views that are often misunderstood and mistakenly perceived as lack of willpower and poor moral character and principle. Substance addiction for example changes the brain making it hard to quit even for people who really want to do so. The good news is that people can and do recover! Learn more:

Week of January 1, 2023

Principle #1 on the No Shame Pledge: I understand that addiction is a disease, and I pledge to eliminate the stigma for individuals experiencing it.

To understand addiction as a disease, it is helpful to first understand addiction. Addiction as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as, “a compulsive, chronic, physiological, or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms upon withdrawal or abstinence.”

This article discusses the DSM-5-TR criteria for substance use disorders and how these conditions are diagnosed:

Clip on understanding stigma linked to addiction and mental health challenges:

To make a difference, join SAFE Project’s No Shame Movement.

Week of December 26, 2022

Consuming a lot of alcohol in really short periods of time — called “binge drinking” — is very dangerous. Youth tend to binge drink at rates as high as 90%. Know the risks and get the facts.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is an organization that offers support and advocacy for victims of drunk and drugged driving. MADD honors and remembers victims as individuals, not just as a statistic. They also offer problem solving education and resources.

Week of December 19, 2022

It is estimated that one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Alcohol-impaired driving laws make it illegal to drive at or above a specified BAC of 0.05% or 0.08%, depending on the state.

The Interagency Coordinating Committee on The Prevention of Underage Drinking released a comprehensive plan in 2022 for preventing and reducing underage drinking.

Week of December 12, 2022

Week of December 5, 2022

Impaired driving related accidents could happen to anyone!

(image source — https://ccdlaw.com/safety/impaired-crash-stats/)

Week of November 28, 2022

When it comes to vaping, cigarette smoking, and tobacco chewing, it is important to know the facts, to understand the deceiving marketing strategies, and to have appropriate resources. Equally important is knowing how to confidently talk with your teen about this subject. Check out this CDC and US Surgeon General tip sheet for parents that contains information on how to prepare for the talk, how to start the conversation, and how to keep the conversation going.

Week of November 21, 2022

Every day, the tobacco industry spends $25 million to market their products. These two articles include information on tactics and ploys that target youth, an underage population.

Week of November 14, 2022

The Great American Smokeout is Thursday, November 17. Quitting smoking (vaping, chewing) is an individual process that begins with a single day. The American Cancer Society has no-cost resources and information on programs and supports that will help guide you on your journey to quit.

Week of November 7, 2022

More than 2.5 million high and middle school students currently use e-cigarettes according to the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey.

Week of October 30, 2022

SAFE Project invites you to prioritize prevention and keep the momentum of Red Ribbon Week throughout the entire year. Prevention is the most underutilized response to the addiction epidemic — everyone can play a role!

To help those engaged with the youth sector (parents, guardians, caretakers as well as schools and youth serving organizations), SAFE Project is happy to provide SAFE Solutions, a one-of-a-kind, online resource that consists of educational materials, innovative approaches, and researched best practices curated by national subject matter experts in addressing challenges pertaining to mental health and substance use disorders. Find solutions filtered by desired outcomes and/or on the continuum of care (prevention, early intervention, harm reduction, treatment, recovery, and systems).

Together, through collaboration of all impacted community sectors, we can work to ensure many great school years and promote wellness across the lifespan.

Week of October 24, 2022

Check out these action-oriented Red Ribbon Week choice options and show your support of SAFE Project’s red ribbon slogan: Choose your path. Make SAFE choices.

Week of October 17, 2022

Week of October 10, 2022

Week of October 3, 2022

In recognition of National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month and red ribbon week, SAFE Project has created a resource landing page on our website:

On this site, you can request a supply of SAFE Project-designed red ribbons or red ribbon week stickers inscribed with the message “Choose Youth Path. Make Safe Choices” for use at the local level in your community.

Week of September 26, 2022

During National Recovery Month, SAFE Project is honored to join the thousands of impacted individuals, young and old, as they come together to spread positive messages that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, that and people can and do recover.

This week, we would like to bring your attention to the “Mobilize Recovery Across America 2022” national bus tour which started September 5 and will go through October 6. Visit the Mobilize Recovery website to check out the highlights of each unique visit and hear messages about the common mission of ending overdose, ending addiction, and inspiring solutions for recovery.

September 30 is International Recovery Day. To learn more and join the celebration, visit – https://internationalrecoveryday.org/registration/

Week of September 19, 2022

SAFE Project is proud to join agencies and organizations across the country in taking steps to raise awareness of recovery month. This week, we feature resources and upcoming events available through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

Week of September 12, 2022

It has been three decades since the initial National Recovery Month, an observance held every September in support of the nation’s strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and communities who make recovery in all its forms possible.

SAFE Project is a proud champion of those in recovery. We are pleased to provide these helpful resources that are available to those in recovery themselves and those helping individuals through their recovery journey.

Week of September 5, 2022

SAFE Project is honored to join the thousands of impacted individuals, young and old alike, as they come together during recovery month (September) to share inspiring messages of hope. To learn more about the history of recovery month as well as collaborative efforts across the country focused on the national theme: “Every Person. Every Family. Every Community”, visit:

The “Recovery & Resiliency with Real Students” recorded webinar is brought to you by the New England PTTC and SAMHSA Region 1:

Week of August 29, 2022

The success of each school year largely depends on a supportive and intentional collaboration between, student, family, educational facility, and faculty. With the diversity of concerns facing youth today, placing priority on mental health can lead to better outcomes. The most effective and sustainable approaches to improved mental health begins with understanding the needs of the individuals you seek to support.

The National Institute of Mental Health provides a list of warning signs, as well as brochures and other resources on mental health topics such as anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, and more:

Week of August 22, 2022

As schools across America are opening their doors to the start of the 2022/23 school year, we encourage all to prioritize youth mental health.

The state of an individual’s mental health affects every aspect of their life, including how they think, feel, and act. For young people experiencing symptoms of mental health challenges, the earlier treatment is started, the more effective it can be. Early treatment can help prevent more severe conditions as the child moves into adulthood. Relevant and supportive research on the topic include:

Week of August 15, 2022

Beginning a new school year usually comes with some anxiety, but in today’s uncertain times students may need a lot more support, reassurance, and comfort before they’re ready to learn.

To help, SAFE Project is happy to announce our Back to School resource page. It contains tools specifically for those engaged with the youth sector (parents, guardians, and caretakers, as well as schools and youth-serving organizations). Having conversations about mental health and substance use can build resilience and support youth in making healthy safe choices now and across their lifespan.

Week of August 8, 2022

The range of emotion spans across the spectrum from super excited to super stressed. There are many preparations that need to take place before the homeroom bell rings. This school year, we at SAFE Project encourage you to add a child “Mental Health Checkup” to your list of back-to-school preparations.

To help those engaged with the youth sector (parents, guardians, caretakers, as well as schools and youth serving organizations), SAFE Project is happy to provide SAFE Solutions, a one-of-a-kind, online resource that consists of educational materials, innovative approaches, and researched best practices curated by national subject matter experts in addressing challenges pertaining to mental health and substance use disorders. Find Solutions filtered by desired outcomes and/or on the continuum of care (prevention, early intervention, harm reduction, treatment, recovery, and systems).

Together, through collaboration of all impacted community sectors, we can work to ensure many great school years and promote wellness across the lifespan.

Week of August 1, 2022:

One of the toughest issues for families and friends is how to navigate the systems that provide care and/or support — and it’s especially hard when they are in a crisis situation.

The downloadable complimentary version is suited for:

  • Youth and young adults
  • Educators
  • Youth-serving organizations
  • Parents, guardians, and caretakers of youth
  • ANYONE interested in the topic

Week of July 25, 2022:

Week of July 18, 2022:

Week of July 11, 2022:

Week of July 4, 2022:

Week of June 27, 2022:

Week of June 20, 2022:

Week of June 13, 2022:

Substance Use and Mental Health LGBTQ+ Resources:

Week of June 6, 2022:

Week of May 30, 2022:

Week of May 23, 2022:

Week of May 16, 2022:

You can help end stigma and show your support of individuals experiencing mental health and substance use challenges by joining SAFE Project’s No Shame Movement. Access the No Shame pledge as well as the newly developed “No Shame Youth and Young Adult Supplemental Education Program” on our toolkit page.

Week of May 9, 2022:

The 2022 NPW Daily Themes:

  • May 9: Strengthening Community Resilience: Substance Misuse and Overdose Prevention
  • May 10: Preventing Substance Use and Promoting Mental Health in Youth
  • May 11: Preventing Suicide: Everyone Plays a Role
  • May 12: The Talent Pipeline: Enhancing the Prevention Workforce
  • May 13: Prevention is Everywhere: Highlighting Efforts Across Settings and Communities
  • May 14: Celebrating Prevention Heroes

Week of May 2, 2022:

Week of April 25, 2022:

Week of April 18, 2022:

Week of April 11, 2022:

Week of April 4, 2022:

Additional Resources & Assistance

For more information about SAFE Choices, contact
Senior Director Ronna Yablonski at: choices@safeproject.us