Monthly Archives: August 2015

31Aug/15

Profiles of Service: Michael DeLeon

Michael DeLeon is a filmmaker who travels around the country (on his own dime) and gives presentations on drug addiction at schools, community centers, hospitals, treatment programs and professional conferences. It’s personal for him on multiple levels – his own addiction resulted in 12 years of incarceration (he has been out of prison and clean since 2000); he’s also attended the funerals of numerous friends that have died from prescription drug and heroin overdoses.

His non-profit company is Steered Straight and it’s mission is to provide quality, real-life programming for middle and high school students so that they can avoid drug abuse and the criminal justice system. He has made two movies and garnered some quality media attention (but not enough, in my opinion). Michael has done all of this without fanfare, awards or payment. I am hoping that he one day gets all three. His heart is in the right place and his message is true.

His first film was The Kids Are Dying. Mr. DeLeon’sĀ latest movie is An American Epidemic and it is about the prescription drug and heroin problem which is scourging our nation. You can watch the trailer here.

 

 

02Aug/15

UNITE to Face Addiction – October 4, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

On October 4, 2015, thousands upon thousands of individuals will meet in Washington to (announce their presence with authority) let the United States and her leaders know that there are real solutions to addiction and alcoholism.

Who should go: Individuals in recovery. Their friends and family members. Advocates and professionals that work in prevention, treatment and/or recovery support services. Professionals from the fields of criminal justice, education, veterans services, and public health must also be represented.

Why now:

(1) A man in long-term recovery from alcoholism is the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

(2) The film The Anonymous People has helped raise awareness (it’s on Netflix).

(3) Both Democrats and Republicans are talking about the high personal and financial costs of incarceration. There is a sense of criminal justice reform in the air and the end of draconian sentences for petty possession is at hand.

(4) More and more people are paying attention to addiction because of the increase in overdoses in deaths as a result of prescription opiates. There are stories in the media everyday about how someone started on Percocet and ended up dying from Heroin. The deaths of celebrities such as Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Cory Monteith also increased awareness of this issue.

What’s the purpose:

(1) To let the people of America and her leaders know that people with addictions are your parents, sons, daughters, neighbors, employers, co-workers, doctors, teachers, EMT’s, students, teammatesĀ and friends.

(2) To reduce the stigma. People often don’t ask for or accept help because of the stigma. Stigma reduction equals more treatment equals better health outcomes equals less pain & suffering equals reduced costs for individuals and society.

(3) To encourage the creation and passage of sound policies.

Actions:

(1) Go to www.facingaddiction.org and sign up

(2) Contact the field organizer who is working in your state http://www.facingaddiction.org/outreach-team

(3) Tell your friends and colleagues. Ask them to join you.

(4) Show up in Washington D.C. on October 4, 2015.

I have missed three Vikings games live since I returned home from Japan in 2003 (I saw two of them on delay). This is big enough that I am going on a fall football Sunday (I’ve skipped weddings). This will be the fourth game I miss (I will DVR it, of course). Get on the bus and help us make some noise in our nation’s capitol. I’ll see you on the mall.