#YourVoice Submission: Please Don't Shoot the Field in the Foot

Posted on: June 12, 2018 2:00 pm

Submitted by: Mary Marvel, OCPC

Ohio is blessed with a tremendous group of prevention professionals who are arduously working in the trenches every day to make an impact in their schools and communities. Our dedication to children and adults in preventing substance abuse and mental health problems, I would argue, is among the best in the nation. That being said, are we, in a time when we are facing a catastrophic opioid crisis, rampant prescription drug abuse, legalization of marijuana and other pressing substance abuse and mental health issues, jeopardizing our own efforts by our own attitudes and behaviors?              

Here are some things to ponder:

  • Are we conducting ourselves as consummate professionals at all times?
  • Do the prevention philosophies that we espouse match our actions?
  • Do we reach for a drink or a pill every time we are stressed out or have a problem?
  • Do we run to the bar when the last session is over at a professional prevention conference and/or even stumble back into our hotel in an inebriated state?
  • Does every social gathering that we sponsor have to include alcohol?
  • Are we out at local “watering holes” being loud, rowdy, and even drunk where the students that we work with can see us?
  • Are we drinking at high school graduation parties that our students have invited us to?
  • Do we accept financial sponsorship from alcohol, drug, or other companies who may not be truly interested or able to further our mission?
  • For veterans in the field, what is our responsibility to be personal and professional role models for those new to the field?
  • Are our responsibilities to “Walk the Walk and not just Talk the Talk” even greater when we are in a high-profile prevention position in the state? 

It is possible and even probable that our dedicated efforts are being sabotaged when our youth and adult consumers, community coalition members, community stakeholders, etc. see when we are employing a “Do as I Say and Not as I Do” modus operandi. Our students are watching. Our community partners are watching. The new professionals that we are mentoring are watching. Our financial sponsors are watching. They are looking to us to set the highest example. In a day and age when are prevention efforts are more critical then ever, we can be taking one step forward and ten steps backward if our own actions in our personal and professional lives are not in alignment with the prevention strategies and programming that we are so desperately trying to impart and implement. I challenge each of us to take a look in the mirror and make a change, if needed, so that our hard-fought efforts are not in vain.

#YourVoice is a special ADAPAO segment that allows ADAPAO members to submit content to be shared with Ohio's prevention community. Articles submitted are the views and opinions of the member submitting them and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of ADAPAO. To submit your content to be a part of #YourVoice please email your article, video, or recording to mail@adapao.org.