Tammy Walsh

High school educator and mother of two
Founder, Northport Community Book Club
Northport, N.Y.
Facebook: Northport Community Book Club
Twitter: @nptbookjunkies

I am a mother of two boys and a high school math teacher with a real passion for helping to educate teens on the dangers of substance abuse, including issues like cough medicine abuse that may not be on parents’ radar screen. One of my sons is in recovery, and I – like any mother – am living life minute by minute, day by day.

As an educator, I am in contact with hundreds of teens on a daily basis. I see firsthand the challenging issues and choices today’s high school students face. I know that addiction does not discriminate – it can affect a student athlete, an honor student, or in my case, my own son.

After seeing drug-related tragedies take place in my community, I decided that more needed to be done in Northport to educate teens and parents about the dangers of substance abuse. I simply could not attend another funeral for a life lost too soon, which is why I have made it my personal mission to educate others on the dangers of substance abuse.

I am actively involved with the Northport/East Northport Community Drug and Alcohol Task Force, which unites a diverse cross section of my community to work together to educate and protect our children from drugs and alcohol. In 2011, I founded the Northport Community Book Club to start the conversation between parents and teens about the risks of substance abuse by reading and discussing books on drug addiction and recovery. The book club brings families, friends, and community leaders together to focus on the important and often difficult discussions about addiction, recovery, prevention, education, and the serious impact drugs and alcohol can have on all of us. We also use our Facebook page and Twitter account to stay in touch with the community outside of these discussions.

Currently, I am working with teachers to educate them on better recognizing the signs of abuse among their students and am leading a variety of community activities to encourage and support recovery efforts and to spread awareness of substance abuse.

Ultimately, I hope to remove the stigma associated with substance abuse and address the issue openly and honestly with both parents and teens. I want to give them the resources needed to not only talk about substance abuse but to also take a pro-active approach to addressing the issue where they live.

Through my involvement with the Five Moms campaign, I hope to reach even more parents on a national level to help educate them on the dangers of substance abuse and to provide them with the right tools to make a positive change their community.