More than 165 parents, coalition members, educators, community leaders and law enforcement representatives attended DrugFreeAZKids.org’s annual breakfast on Tuesday, April 28 at the Phoenix Country Club to raise awareness and support the organization’s mission to prevent and reduce youth drug use. Sponsors of the event included: Anderson Security Agency, Ltd., APS, General Dynamics, MidFirst Bank, ON Semiconductor, Snell & Wilmer, LLP, TASC, and UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans.
Spanish journalist Mary Rábago served as emcee, and speakers included Maricopa County Attorney, Bill Montgomery and James Stoehr, Ph.D., Midwestern University who discussed the impact drug use has on our brains, particularly the teen brain.
“Children’s brains and bodies are still developing until the age of 25 and our research shows that a developing brain does not have the capacity for good judgment and decision making,” said Dr. Stoehr. “A child’s developing brain also makes them more susceptible to habit-forming substances like drugs and alcohol. In fact, 90% of drug addictions start in the teen years.”
The audience gave a standing ovation to Marsha Larson after she shared her tragic story of losing her son to a heroin overdose. “I share my story with you today….with the hope that no other family will ever go through what my family has gone through.”
“It is so important for our community to come together and talk about prevention and to keep the spotlight on issues facing parents and children today,” said Bret Zahn, DrugFreeAZKids.org’s board chair. “We are grateful for the contributions of our sponsors and community members whose support enables us to continue to serve our mission.”
DrugFreeAZKids.org is a 501(c) (3) non-profit statewide organization with a volunteer board of directors. The mission of DrugFreeAZKids.org is to prevent and reduce youth drug and alcohol use through community education and awareness. This is done by providing parents, caregivers, healthcare providers, educators and others with educational tools, information and resources.