Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America National Leadership Forum in Washington DC. It was an amazing experience to learn from folks all over the country. We had over 2700 people that work toward ridding their communities of substance abuse.
The Forum trains communities in substance abuse prevention techniques, strategies and evidence-based practices. They brought in several wonderful speakers including the Surgeon General Regina Benjamin who worked for several years in Alabama. The Director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, spoke as well.
I also visited with our legislative offices: Sewell, Sessions, Shelby, and Bachus. I met Congresswoman Sewell who was very kind and gracious. The purpose of these visits was to ask for support of our efforts as a coalition. All of the offices complemented us on our efforts and pledged their support.
While it was a wonderful experience, there were also some chilling statistics.
1 in 4 of our high school seniors have used drugs in the past 30 days
1 in 2 of our high school seniors have used drugs before they graduate
The rate of current nonmedical use of prescription drugs increased by 17% for ages 12-17
Most of the drug use rates are going up while our students think that the risk of using drugs declines. We often read about the issues of substance abuse in the paper and hear about it on the news, but do we do anything about it besides just shake our heads. It is time to start taking back our community for the good of our kids and neighbors. It is time for us to speak up about the issues instead of sitting on our hands. Spread the word about the Addiction Coalition and get others involved.