Submitted to Carole Smith, PPS Superintendent and Jeff Cogan, Multnomah County Chair.

Dear Carole and Jeff,

I heard you speak this afternoon about partnerships in conjunction with Celebrating 10 Years of Civic Engagement Awards at Portland State University. I am a sobriety advocate at where our mission is to make my sister Laura’s memory matter. Because the health of Portland Public School students is vital, I hope you will both study my website and consider it as a resource in the future. We offer recovery information and proactive approaches to avoid addiction. 245 anonymous participants collectively affirm 3450 sober years on our Sobriety Anniversary webpage. 59 children have chosen to take our Sobriety Pledge by honoring their minds, spirits and bodies without drugs or alcohol before their 21st birthdays. I would love for all of the EDGE program participants Jeff mentioned to affirm their drug / alcohol-free choice with our Sobriety Pledge! Our Laura’s Story webpage offers historical context. Google Analytics documents web traffic with an average of 30 daily page-views from 28 countries and 36 states in the last month.

We co-sponsored with The Oregon Partnership the highly successful Laura Mersereau Memorial Essay Contest with 124 participants from 24 metro-area high schools. All essays are posted online. Please follow the included link. The students speak candidly about coping with the daily challenge of drugs and alcohol in schools. They also discuss focusing on long-term goals and modeling a sober lifestyle. Please check out their summary of prevention-oriented public policy suggestions.

Joseph A. Califano Jr through his work with The National Center On Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) suggests 25% of our nation’s college youth are currently at risk for drug and / or alcohol abuse. 7000 college students die annually due to alcohol poisoning or alcohol-related accidents. There are no easy solutions, but early education including the practice of drug and alcohol refusal techniques as outlined on our Sobriety Pledge webpage is key. I have helped to present this information through Oregon Partnership best practices prevention educational programs to children from 10-14, and the students are receptive.

I recently spoke with Senator Jeff Merkley’s office about my public policy concerns. My objective is to partner in an effective manner with early education to stem the pernicious tide of addiction. I look forward to your thoughts.

Sincerely, Brad Mersereau