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Expanding Our Prevention Reach in April

Expanding Our Prevention Reach in April

I could hear the worry and concern in Sara’s voice when she called recently to talk about her child’s marijuana use. She was really at her wit’s end and was looking for guidance on what she should do.

I met Sara (not her real name), who is an advocate for Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), at a talk I gave about addiction for the organization’s volunteer advocates. She didn’t know how to begin to address her child’s drug use. I connected her with a colleague who specializes in working with teens and Sara was able to get some much-needed peace of mind.

My mission at Dallas CASA earlier that day was to give the 40-plus advocates information about alcohol and drug abuse, to dispel some myths about addiction, and to give them some clues to watch for when they’re meeting with their clients.

Connecting with Sara personally was icing on the cake and reminded me that we never know when—or how—our work will impact others. One of my greatest passions is linking people together so I’m thrilled that Sara called and for our new collaboration with Dallas CASA. They have already invited DPR back to speak to their advocates again.

The month of April is a tremendous time to expand our prevention reach since this is Alcohol Awareness Month (Theme: Changing Attitudes: It's Not a 'Rite of Passage'), National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and National Stress Awareness Month. Our mental health awareness friends and partners all tell us stress is a leading cause of illness, work burnout, and can stoke an increase in substance use disorders, so we need to take care of our mental and emotional health.

April is also the month for the biannual Drug Enforcement Administration's prescription drug take-back, which is happening in our communities on April 28. Find out where a nearby drop-off location is here. There are also counter activities planned around the annual 420 Day, the day when the pro-marijuana culture celebrates and promotes marijuana use.

Our community coalitions are hard at work educating town officials and the public about alcohol awareness. Shelley Miller, our IMPACT Ennis coordinator, was presented with a proclamation from Ennis Mayor Angie Juenemann earlier this week. Read about it here. The coalitions will also host events this month to raise awareness around underage drinking

It's an exciting spring here in North Texas. We just finished moving our offices from Irving to Dallas--if you're in the area, please stop by our new space at the Galleria--13355 Noel Road, Suite 1159. As we adjust to our new surroundings and shuffle through the inevitable challenges, I hope and pray we'll keep our "why" top-of-mind--we're creating a drug-free generation, one conversation, one blog post, one social media message, one child and parent connection at a time.

Please reach out to me with your thoughts or comments at bvance@drugfreegen.org.

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