This comes in several forms. It includes giving speeches, presentations, and discussing substance abuse. It is attending meetings to listen, learn, talk, and educate. Education includes meeting with parents and children, including those that reach out to us because they are concerned for themselves or others. (We have spoken to dozens of people that have reached out to us. We love doing it, please continue to approach us).
One of the key messages we communicate is: substance abuse is a medical disease that should be treated accordingly. It is not a moral weakness or lack of willpower. Medications often help. We must kill the stigma, so people get help rather than hide the problem; so parents aren't embarrassed and put their heads in the sand; so people don't think of users as "losers." Addiction gets worse with time, so it must be treated. It is not ok to "just smoke marijuana or drink" most days of the week.
There is also a more formal educational component: educating students in middle and high school. Study after study demonstrates the importance of this, there is no controversy. However, it's much easier said than done. Schools face budgetary and time constraints. This is a critical priority. Education in schools is one of our three key initiatives!
We are working closely with organizations at the Local and County levels. This requires hard work, grass roots efforts, tenacity, and financial support. The goal is to mandate a minimum level of evidence based curriculum in the schools. The holy grail would be to convince schools to implement a more comprehensive, evidence based program, beyond the minimum requirements. JMFF is piloting a program in select local schools. We need your support.