President Jimmy Carter keynoted a workshop hosted by National Families in Action in Atlanta on May 17-18, 2013. Designed for state legislative and executive-branch leaders from Colorado, Washington, and other states, the workshop had two goals. The first goal was to encourage states that legalized commercial marijuana to prevent that industry from marketing to children like the tobacco and alcohol industries do. The second goal was to help other states seek marijuana policies that neither incarcerate low-level offenders nor legalize the drug. Noted scientists from several different disciplines presented at the workshop; all presentations were videotaped and may be viewed here.
National Families in Action opposes legalizing marijuana. Legalization removes society’s ability to prevent a commercial marijuana industry from marketing to children like the tobacco and alcohol industries do. All three industries know that addiction begins in childhood. The younger children are when they start using an addictive drug, the more likely they will become addicted—and lifetime customers. In 2010, we developed 12 provisions that any law legalizing marijuana should include, based on lessons learned from efforts to reduce underage smoking and drinking. We also began blogging here and more recently on The Huffington Post as well.
The Addiction Studies Program provides those who shape public opinion (journalists) and public policy (state executive-branch and legislative leaders) with an understanding of the science that underlies drug use, abuse, and addiction. Wake Forest University School of Medicine and National Families in Action received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse from 1999 through 2011 to support the journalists’ program, which sought to help reporters attain the highest standards of scientific accuracy in writing their drug stories. In 2005, the Treatment Research Institute and the National Conference of State Legislatures joined the founders as additional partners to help state governments improve their drug policies based on science. This program, also funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, continues to 2014.
In 2003, National Families in Action obtained a $4.2 million grant from Congress to create and conduct a pilot program of the Parent Corps at 19 schools in 9 states. From each school, we recruited, trained, and employed a Parent Leader whose job was to educate and mobilize the school’s parents into drug prevention. Principals report these results: communications with parents doubled and student attendance and grades increased, while discipline problems and drop-out rates decreased. The pilot program ended in 2007 but continued in Georgia with private funding for three more years. Congressman John Lewis has introduced The National Parents Corps Act in every Congress since the pilot program to make the Parent Corps permanent.