There are few guarantees in life but here’s one: Drug use and misuse is 100 percent preventable, if there is a strong and urgent commitment among individuals and communities to protect youth.
Ninety percent of adults with addiction began drinking, smoking or using other drugs before they were 18. People who use addictive substances before they’re 18 are up to six times more likely to develop a substance use disorder than those who delay initiating use until the age of 21 or after.
Without dedicated work to educate students, families and communities and protect our young people, harms to society will continue to mount. Social costs will skyrocket even higher than they are now, but worse, we’ll see the ultimate personal cost in loss of life and devastation of families.
But, all this can be prevented if we do our jobs correctly. It’s a two-pronged approach: Our prevention educators teach young people how to make better, healthier decisions while our coalition coordinators help cities and counties create healthy and safe environments for students and their families.
Drug Prevention Resources staff has a huge amount of pride in their students and communities. I’ve known that since day one. However, being proud of the work we do and truly believing in our mission are two different things. When it comes to the latter, I am thrilled to announce that last month we achieved 100 percent staff giving to Drug Prevention Resources. Our team has such a strong commitment to our work that they are willing to financially support us each and every month! Thank you to Stuart Bright, our visionary chairman, who rallied our board to agree to match employee contributions.
Speaking of the board, please welcome new members Carol Dodson, managing partner of Sly Fox, an out-of-home and experiential agency/holding company of Moroch Holdings Inc., and Sylvia Fuentes, an educational consultant with Stetson and Associates, Inc. and long-time south Dallas educator and principal.
In addition, Steve Moore, founder of Mosquito Steve, has recently returned to the board.
I’ll announce three additional new board members soon. I’m very energized by the new faces, skills and passion. You may notice that we’re using best practices, based on capacity-building for community coalitions, as we build the board. Those coalitions that want to make the greatest impact include representatives from all sectors of the community. We are getting there!
In the prevention world, we all have fancy mission statements and lofty goals. But the bottom line is, at Drug Prevention Resources, we are creating a vision that gets to the heart of WHY we do the work we do and WHY students, families and communities can become champions of change. Please stay tuned and tell your friends, neighbors and co-workers! You’ll learn a lot on this revamped website and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
The Community wheel photo is borrowed from National Youth Violence Prevention Week.