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NNLM Reading Club: Substance Misuse

Substance Misuse

Several National Health Observances (NHOs) throughout the year remind us to talk about substance misuse and addiction disorders. However, any day, week, or month is an opportunity to increase public awareness of, and action around, mental and/or substance use disorders.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recognizes one week each year as National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW), a health observance linking teens to science-based facts to SHATTER THE MYTHS® about drugs.

​Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors ​​National Prevention Week in May.

In September, National Recovery Month celebrates the people who have recovered and encourages others.


Use MedlinePlus to find information on substances that may be misused, including these examples:

Find Opioid Misuse and Addiction information in multiple languages.

Fact Sheets

Download, print, and share.

Comic E-Pubs

Sample page from People Recover Comic E-PubPeople Recover (36 pages PDF)

Library Programming

Treatment and Recovery

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration logoFindTreatment.gov is a substance use online locator that has information on thousands of state-licensed providers who specialize in treating substance use disorders, addiction, and mental illness.

Prescription Disposal

In April and October every year, the U.S. Department of Justice reminds us to dispose properly of all unused prescriptions on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day ​To locate a drop-off site, Google Maps has an enhanced feature to help you. Here's how to use it:

Hands holding a smartphone

  1. On a computer, phone, or another device, visit google.com/maps.
  2. Type "drug disposal near me" in the search bar.

The tool will show nearby government, health care facility, and pharmacy drop-off locations. To learn more, visit New Maps Feature Makes Drug Disposal Easier and Safer.

Program Toolkit

Cover of the Facilitator Guide for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Use the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) program toolkit to find ideas and download and share the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Fact Sheet PDF


Strengthen your social media presence and help spread the word. Embed the Drugs of Abuse videos by Learn.Genetics, which cover a range of substances including cocaine, meth, and nicotine, or this video from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a virus that damages the liver. It usually is spread when blood from a person infected with the hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to prepare or inject drugs. Because opioid and drug misuse has profound economic and health consequences on Americans, including a marked increase in acute hepatitis C infections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges Hepatitis Awareness Month every year in May with their campaign, ​Know More Hepatitis.

VIRAL HEPATITIS. ARE YOU AT RISK? Take this online assessment to see if you're at risk.Take Action

Library Skills Training

The following opportunities can help you learn more.

  • National Drug and Alcohol IQ Challenge Take the quiz
  • Understanding the Opioid Crisis: Where Do I Begin? (Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM), August 19, 2019) An estimated 1.9 million people in the U.S. have a prescription opioid use disorder, while another 586,000 have a heroin use disorder. This recording will help you to understand what addiction and opioids are and where you can find authoritative information to understand this complex epidemic. You also will learn how to discuss many of these resources and explore ideas for their use in community outreach education and programs in your library or organization. This 1 hour, online training is appropriate for anyone providing health information to the general public including public and medical librarians, patient or community educators and healthcare professionals.​
  • Pathways to Safer Opioid Use is an interactive training that promotes the appropriate, safe, and effective use of opioids to manage chronic pain. Pathways begins with a 7-minute video that provides background on the principles of health literacy, patient communication, and opioid-related ADEs that are addressed in the training. Pathways takes about an hour to complete.

There's an NIH for that