Informed Families Catalyst

President's Message - February 2016

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on February 26, 2016 at 1:11 PM

Peggy_Sapp_headshot_2010_smallInformed Families Is About Drug Prevention, Not Drug Abuse

Please repeat this 7 times and then ask, “What’s the difference?” “How do I learn Prevention?”

After several phone calls from friends and family telling me to make sure I watched “Chasing Heroin” on Frontline, I tuned in and now I’m asking you to please watch “Chasing Heroin” on Frontline.  It will definitely debunk a lot of myths that society has created about who uses drugs, why they use drugs and how people get out of addiction.

Actually, Informed Families could have written the show; several of the speakers are professional colleagues and good friends. I’ve served on both The White House Office of Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and National Institute of Drug Abuse at NIH.  I have tremendous respect for Dr. Tom McLellan, a great researcher and former head of Demand Reduction at The White House ONDCP.  Tom is great person and parent when he levels and admits that all the researchers still don’t know where to send a kid when he/she has a drug problem. Tom lost a son to drugs.  Hats off to the brilliant Dr. Nora Volkow, head of NIDA, when she says, “no one has all the answers about the brain.”


After watching the show, here is the take away…there is no silver bullet or quick fix for people after they are addicted to drugs.  Drugs destroy people, families and communities.  Never believe it when an addict says, “I’m only hurting myself.”

When I started Informed Families 34 years ago, I visited treatment centers looking for “the answer” and how to prevent the problem.  I was told about the 30-day in-house treatment program. Being curious, I asked, “why 30 days?” The answer was, “it is what insurance will pay for.”  Well folks, that is not an answer!!!

The answer is PREVENTION because when you or your loved one fall into the hole, there is no quick fix to save you or your loved one.

I’ve really struggled with why people don’t understand prevention?  Is it because there are so many pieces and moving parts?  Risk and Protective Factors are well researched, but here is the rub…this is not an academic exercise to talk about and discuss; rather, you, the individual, have to take the responsibility to create the protective factors and to reduce the risk factors for your family.

Oh no, alas, people tell me, “I have no time for Informed Families’ Campaigns designed to help me build protective factors for my family.”  REALLY?

After seeing, “Chasing Heroin,” you may want to reconsider the time factor. Ask yourself, do you have time for falling in the deep, dark hole that is addiction? Participating and learning with Informed Families may take some upfront time but it will save you a lot of time and heartache in life.

Be sure to read our board member David Vittoria’s blog, entitled “Rx For Heroin.” Contact us to find out how we can help you prevent problems before they start.


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Topics: President's Message, heroin, prescription drugs, prevention, nida, ondcp

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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