LEAD takes down drugs one community at a time

LEAD Photo credit: Chester Chan

Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD), is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to taking down the drug problem and empowering neighborhoods.

Law Enforcement Against Drugs is a non-profit organization founded in 2014 by law enforcement and educational leaders in a small community in New Jersey.

According to Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association, LEAD’s mission is to “provide the leadership, resources, and management to ensure law enforcement agencies have the means to partner with educators, community leaders, and families by providing proven and effective programs to deter youth and adults from drug use, drug-related crimes, bullying, and violence.”

LEAD’s program is designed to combat the rising problem of drug abuse in the U.S.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, people age 12 or older in 2021, 61.2 million people (or 21.9 percent of the population) used illicit drugs in past year. Efficacious drug prevention programs and education initiatives are needed, which LEAD has provided for years.

LEAD provides a range of drug education and prevention programs tailored to different audiences, including community-based drug prevention programs, school-based drug education programs and drug awareness presentations. These programs provide accurate information on drug effects, the risks of drug abuse and the importance of making positive decisions. They also aim to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, resilience and self-esteem, which are essential in preventing drug abuse and other risky behaviors.

LEAD’s drug prevention programs are evidence-based and incorporate the latest research and best practices. The organization uses interactive teaching methods, such as group discussions, role-playing and games, to engage participants effectively.

Additionally, LEAD emphasizes the importance of parental involvement in preventing drug abuse and provides resources and support to help parents and caregivers communicate effectively with their children about drugs and related issues.

In addition to drug prevention programs, LEAD provides training for law enforcement officers on drug prevention and intervention strategies. The organization believes that law enforcement officers are vital partners in drug prevention efforts and can significantly create safer communities.

LEAD’s training programs equip officers with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively recognize and respond to drug-related issues. The training programs also aim to promote positive relationships between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.

LEAD operates through a network of chapters throughout the United States. According to its website:

— L.E.A.D. offers the most effective 10 weeks, evidence-based, tested, and proven effective, K-12 ATOD, curriculum delivered by Law Enforcement in the United States

— L.E.A.D. is the most rapidly growing drug and violence prevention program in the United States, with certified Instructors in 41 states

LEAD’s innovative approach to drug prevention and education, which includes its use of social media and other digital tools to reach young people, has been successful in making a positive impact on young people’s lives and their communities.

“Donations received by LEAD are primarily allocated toward the program’s curriculum, which covers 86% of the funds, the remaining 14% covers operating costs,” said Devin, a program specialist at LEAD. “Donations made locally will stay in the community.”