The Power of the Movement: Preventing Youth Substance Abuse

By Christy Posted March 06, 2014 under Personal Stories

Last month I had the privilege of going to Washington D.C. for the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) 24th annual National Leadership Forum. The forum’s theme for 2014, The Power of the Movement, reiterated the fact that years of careful, evidence-based strategic planning can ultimately change beliefs, behaviors and community norms—and that effective prevention requires participation of an entire community.

More than 2,500 community leaders representing almost every U.S. state took part in the forum to learn new strategies to address local drug-related issues and ways to prevent teen drug abuse.

I was excited to have the opportunity to speak during a workshop on medicine abuse prevention hosted by Stop Medicine Abuse and CADCA. Every time I share my personal story of how OTC cough medicine abuse affected my family, I am reminded of how every person can make a difference in the lives others – even if you reach just one person at a time.

This year’s Dose of Prevention Award winner, Substance Abuse Free Environment, Inc. (SAFE), also spoke during the workshop. Sharyl Adams, Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist, spoke about SAFE’s comprehensive approach to reducing teen cough medicine abuse. I was extremely impressed by SAFE’s commitment to engaging youth, parents, schools, physicians and drug stores in their efforts to address medicine abuse.

Another highlight from the trip was “Capitol Hill Day,” as I was able to meet with four members of Congress from California – Barbara Boxer (D), Dianne Feinstein (D), Tom McClintock (R) and Doris Matsui (D) – to seek support for the Preventing Abuse of Cough Treatments Act (PACT).

Needless to say, the overall forum experience was pretty incredible. It definitely provided me with a sense of renewed commitment in the fight against teenage cough medicine abuse. But we still have work to do – and that’s where you come in. Please join me in this fight by sending a letter to your elected officials in support of the PACT Act via our Legislative Action Center.