Jim Ramstad, Former Member of Congress (MN-3)
"It is time for America to deal with our Nation's number one public health problem: substance abuse and addiction. While we must provide treatment for those in need, the best cure is prevention."
Robert Bazell, Chief Health and Science Correspondent, NBC News
"Addressing the current epidemic of teen substance use and its consequences will require a comprehensive program involving doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teen patients and their parents."
Jeb Bush, Former Governor of the State of Florida
"Preventing teen substance use is one of the best opportunities we have to both improve the future prospects for our children and significantly reduce costs to taxpayers."
Enrique Carranza, Parent Activist
"Parents are first in line to prevent teen substance use; they need to understand what’s at stake and to accept responsibility."
Barbara J. Guthrie, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Yale University School of Nursing
"The role of health care professionals in addressing teen substance use and addiction is prevention, screening, diagnosing and treating or referring--just as they do for all other health conditions."
Ralph Hingson, ScD, MPH, Director, Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
"Injuries are the leading cause of death in the United States among those ages 1-44. Alcohol misuse is the greatest single contributor to those injuries. Our concern about teen substance use is not just that early use increases the chances of dependence; any teen use can result in horrific and costly consequences like traffic fatalities, rapes and other assaults, suicides, homicides, and unintended injuries to the drinkers, drug users, and others. These negative consequences are more likely to occur among early substance users not only during their adolescence but in their adult years as well. We have to prevent both."
Charles E. Irwin, Jr., MD, Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics; Director, Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
"The opportunities to intervene with adolescents are too often spent merely looking inside the ears or measuring height instead of intervening with risk behaviors, offering guidance or opening doors to the health care system."
Peter Mitchell, father and expert in behavior-change communications, Original Marketing Director, truth® anti-tobacco campaign, Chief Creative Officer, Salter>Mitchell, a social marketing firm
"In high school, problems like substance abuse are contagious. A few kids get drunk, a few more tag along. It starts adding up: Norms change. Expectations change. Now, I'm a parent who has done everything right and this is a problem for my kid. Even if I'm the perfect parent, risks rise if we are not also addressing this issue as a community. This is why high school substance abuse and addiction are problems for all of us — parents, grandparents, anyone who cares about kids.
Fighting addiction and substance abuse costs money, of course. But it's an investment that I, as a parent, am willing to make. Imagine if you could just go shopping and buy your kid a high school environment where substance abuse was nearly non-existent. Wouldn't you do it? Some things we can't buy as individuals. But we can do it as citizens and as members of a community."
Anthony Mullen, 2009 National Teacher of the Year
"Teachers are given a critical task of not only educating children; we are responsible for developing caring, ethical and industrious young adults. To achieve these goals, teachers need to do everything in their power to prevent teen substance use and intervene early with those who are using."
Lucille Roybal-Allard, Congresswoman (CA-34)
"As parents, siblings, neighbors and leaders, we must work together and remain vigilant in our efforts to generate greater awareness about the dangers of substance misuse and the suffering, violence and death that far too often results when our children use alcohol and other drugs. We must encourage our teens to make the right choices, resist peer pressure and recognize that substance use by teens can have life-altering and tragic consequences."
Laurence Steinberg, PhD, Distinguished University Professor, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology, Temple University; Author, You and Your Adolescent: The Essential Guide for Ages 10 to 25
"The teen brain is a work in progress, making it more vulnerable than the mature brain to the physical effects of drugs. The potential for developing substance abuse and dependence is substantially greater when an individual’s first exposure to alcohol, nicotine and illicit drugs occurs during adolescence than in adulthood.
Parents are probably the most important influence on adolescent substance use and abuse. Parents who model bad behavior at home are sending a harmful message of encouragement to their teens."
Linda Tucci Teodosio, Judge, Summit County Juvenile Court, Akron OH
"Referring youth to evidence-based treatment for substance use by teens provides a benefit not only to the child but also benefits the community. By utilizing evidence-based treatment for Court-involved youth who have been diagnosed as substance dependent or abusing, our community has been able to dramatically reduce the number of commitments to state correctional facilities for youth, achieve better outcomes for children and families and decrease the likelihood of recidivism. If this treatment can have this kind of positive impact for these children, I believe that the use of these same practices upon diagnosis will prevent many children from entering the Juvenile Justice system altogether."
Darrell Thompson, Former NFL Running Back, Green Bay Packers; Executive Director, Bolder Options
"Understanding the consequences of teen substance use is a big deal. It affects the child, the parent, the school and our tax bill. We need to face these consequences squarely and do all we can to prevent them."
Leticia A. Van de Putte, Texas State Senate
"Adolescent substance use and its often tragic consequences, including addiction, can be prevented. Parents should be outraged that we are letting this happen to our children.
Parents need to wake up and take charge. This is about the health and safety of their kids. They need to stop worrying about what other parents think and set the norms themselves."
David Walsh, PhD, Former President and CEO, National Institute on Media and the Family; Author, Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen
"Brain science reveals how alcohol and other drugs affect the adolescent brain differently than the adult brain: the young brain is more easily addicted. Damage done to the brain can be more severe on a dose for dose basis. Teens tend to underestimate risk and ignore warning signals leading to more treacherous consequences."
Vice Admiral Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA, U.S. Surgeon General
"Prevention is the foundation of our public health system and of my work as Surgeon General. One of the greatest challenges we face is preventing teen substance use and related risky behaviors."