Presenting at Stanford Graduate School of Business on Stigma & Addiction in 2019.
How can we effectively reach teens and keep them safe?
I spoke with Maia Szalavitz about my work piloting harm reduction drug education in schools and how we provide safety protocols that teens actually listen to.
Was Euphoria an accurate depiction of teen drug use?
I talked with TIME about the drug misrepresentation crisis and how in today's supply, teens don't actually know what they are consuming.
A professional reading list for educators & adults who want to learn more about drug use and teens. These texts and resources were foundational to the philosophy and information we offer teens in our work.
My personal practices, not medical advice
I have learned these frameworks and tools from friends, coaches, and teachers. They have been essential in my own personal healing journey. Their orgins are in esoteric practices, non-violent communication, internal family systems work, and indigenous wisdom. I hope this guide serves to inspire and support you in wholeness as well.
Amid growing calls for raising the age limit for legal use of marijuana in many states, I was invited to sit down with NBC senior national correspondent Kate Snow to talk about why I think youth cannabis consumption should be dealt with as a public health issue, and not a matter of criminality.
How & Why to Talk to Young People about Mind-Altering Drugs
I wrote a guide for the Hearst Museum of Anthropology exhibit entitled “Pleasure, Poison, Prescription, Prayer: The Worlds of Mind-Altering Substances( 2019-2020)" to support parents in having a dialogue with their child about drugs and drug use, explore each one another's beliefs, and share boundaries and expectations
A School-Based Public Health Perspective
The passing of Prop 64 (Legalization of Cannabis) in California prompted me to explore if and how schools in the Bay Area were shifting their prevention and education services to reflect the new context. In-depth qualitative interviews with secondary school health workers and alcohol and drug education program specialists revealed that they considered "no-use" programs not only invalid, but detrimental for youth coping with depression, anxiety, and trauma. Without addressing the conditions that have influenced their behavior, stigmatizing and pathologizing substance use is not only ineffective but cruel. At the same time, an absence of systemic efforts or district pressure for culturally relevant and trauma-informed drug education has left adults who reject "no use" drug education to "just say nothing" to the young people they consider most at-risk. The findings of this study suggest that we need more nuanced and sensitive understanding of the lived experiences of young people who use drugs to guide the creation of education and prevention services.
The Pitfalls of Youth Drug Prevention Programs in America
Abstinence-only drug education has failed young people and raised additional harms for those who are most at-risk for misusing drugs (through scare-tactics, exaggerations, stigma, and punishment). In my undergraduate honor's thesis, I review the literature on national drug education policy and programs, and suggest that our efforts to protect and improve the health of young people will be better served if drug education focused on developing the protective factors that enable young people to have the capacity to make healthier drug-use decisions and to thrive over course over lives-- a positive youth development approach to drug education and prevention.