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Alcohol and drug abuse disrupts families, threatens the safety of our neighborhoods and ruins the lives of countless men, women and youth. During National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, the Fort Meade Army Substance Abuse Program recognizes the damaging effects of substance abuse and renews its support for individuals battling to overcome addiction.

The theme for 2006, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Build a Stronger, Healthier Community," urges all Americans to help prevent alcohol and drug abuse and to promote treatment and recovery options.

In order to effectively battle alcohol and drug addiction, we must ensure that military, civilian and family members in need can readily access services and programs.

While drug use among youth is down since 2001, the Fort Meade community must continue its efforts to help the next generation avoid substance abuse.

This work begins with understanding that youth are less likely to engage in risky behaviors when they are connected to strong families and communities. To assist our children in learning to make healthy choices, the Helping America's Youth initiative, led by First Lady Laura Bush, is encouraging local partnerships that empower families, schools and communities to help young people reach their full potential.

Fort Meade is committed to protecting its community and young people from the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse. Drug addiction is a continuing and devastating threat in too many communities across our nation.

Although drug use numbers are down among the youth, we must not forget about the rest of the population. The government is working through various efforts and program. Earlier this year President Bush signed into law the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, which increases penalties for smuggling and selling drugs and introduces commonsense safeguards to make many of the ingredients used in manufacturing drugs harder to obtain and easier to track.

These efforts are helping in the fight against substance abuse in America, yet government action is not the only answer. We are making progress because there are millions of our fellow citizens answering the universal call to love a neighbor. By working together, we can make a difference in the life of someone in need and help fulfill the promise of a more hopeful tomorrow for generations to come.

For more information, contact the Fort Meade Army Substance Abuse Program at 301-677-7983.

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