My parents and I weren’t taught effective ways to prevent substance use
Substance use prevention is often under-funded, and evidence-based programs are not widely utilized.
I went through the D.A.R.E. program in school; it was ineffective. I didn’t learn about addiction as a disease or an illness. I didn’t learn that people recover from addiction just like they do from every single other chronic illness and disease that we have.
My parents weren’t educated about these things either. My parents wanted to help me, but they didn’t know how. I think it’s important to have police officers develop relationships with students, and understand that they’re there to help, but I don’t think that we should be learning about substance use and addiction from a law enforcement officer.
Joel’s story is taken from an interview transcript and has been edited for clarity.