April 26, 2022 | Partner Showcases

Partner Showcase: Partnership to End Addiction

Submission by Mithra Salmassi and Linda Richter

Familial support is one of the most crucial protective factors for adolescent mental health and substance use prevention. However, there is a dearth of substance use resources solely dedicated to parents and caregivers. Partnership to End Addiction is a national nonprofit dedicated to transforming how our nation addresses addiction by empowering families, advancing effective care, shaping public policy, and changing culture.

Through the generosity of The Upswing Fund, Partnership to End Addiction was able to create tailored resources for parents and caregivers of LGBTQ+ adolescents, a historically underserved and at-risk population. An example of one such resource is a recent report and policy agenda calling for a paradigm shift in adolescent substance use prevention – one that takes an earlier and broader approach and addresses a broad range of factors that can promote or reduce the risk of adolescent substance use and mental health problems. You can read the report here (more below) and learn more about its application in the video above.

The report:

  • calls for a broader and earlier approach to protecting youth from substance use and addiction;
  • presents a compelling, research-based case for integrating what is known from the fields of early childhood development and healthy youth development into substance use prevention;
  • offers a historical perspective on prevention and describes who is and who should be responsible for being involved in prevention efforts;
  • argues for shifting prevention efforts earlier and for broadening its scope by breaking down silos to enhance collaboration between related fields
  • describes barriers to change; and
  • offers concrete recommendations for policymakers, caregivers, educators, health care providers, and researchers to enact an earlier, broader, and more effective approach to substance use prevention and youth health promotion.

Our biggest achievement was creating a new suite of LGBTQ+ online resources, particularly through our landing page and newly developed Help and Hope messages. We previously lacked customized digital tools to support loved ones of LGBTQ+ adolescents. We are now able to centralize all of our LGBTQ+ resources. Another achievement was conducting extensive research to determine key issues for loved ones of LGBTQ+ adolescents, translating this work into the development of new articles and resource lists for our webpage, and creating new text messages for those accessing our Help and Hope program. Developing a wide variety of options for disseminating crucial information helps to make this information much more accessible to all.

What’s Next? Expanding digital capability through our Help and Hope program and implementing additional features in our messaging program (e.g., customized messaging for the Asian American community which intersects with our LGBTQ+ messages). We are keenly aware of the value of these intersectional messages for underserved communities and are working on integrating them into the program.

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