June 14, 2012 —

In late 2011, my wife Tammy Walsh joined the Five Moms campaign because with one of our sons in recovery, we understood how difficult it is for families to deal with abuse. I’ll be the first to admit that I have not always had an understanding of addiction and teen drug abuse.

It is a topic that is difficult for parents to bring up, and even more difficult to deal with when it becomes your reality. But I have learned that simply telling your children about the dangers of substance abuse, including cough medicine abuse, is not enough. You need to educate yourself first before you try and educate your children. The Walsh Family

Tammy’s knowledge and passion became the power our family needed to help our own son. While my family’s interest and motivation for educating teens and parents in our community about the dangers of substance abuse stems from our own personal experience, as members of a community, we all need to do our own part to protect our teens, and we must work together to help prevent abuse.

Every parent needs to be armed with knowledge to fight the war on drugs to keep their kids safe. Know the warning signs, be vigilant, talk to your kids and then talk some more; talk to the parents in your community and share your firsthand experience so that you can help others. I believe that knowledge is power so educate yourself and have the power to make a difference in someone's life.

No matter what age your kids are, talking to them about substance abuse can make a big difference. Whether you are talking specifically about cough medicine abuse, or the general dangers of drugs, your kids will never know how you feel unless you talk to them.

My wife’s involvement in our local community has brought our family closer together, and has helped me gain a better understanding of teen substance abuse and addiction. Tammy works tirelessly in our community to help others. Our phone rings off the hook, with many people looking for advice, resources or just looking to vent and Tammy is always willing to help them. I am so inspired that she is willing to share our most personal challenge of our son's addiction and recovery with complete strangers just so that she can help others – whether it’s in our community or through the Five Moms.

For me, working together as a family to spread awareness of substance abuse has strengthened my relationship with both of my sons. With the support of family, and the community, our son is making a strong recovery and I could not be more proud of him.