Down with Dope, Up with Hope!

Key Words: African Americans with substance use disorders, Substance abuse prevention, and African American communities

As Barack Obama is leaving office as the first African-American President of the United States, the media talks daily about his opposition parties plan to dismantle his "signature or most important legislation," that being Obama Care. Obama Care provides medical care for 20 million Americans who otherwise would be uninsured. Some experts believe that if this legislation is overturned, the Presidents legacy will be destroyed.

There is a part of his legacy that will never be destroyed. The hope he has given to millions of African American youth who now believe they can be anything they desire to be, including President of the United States! The picture included in this blog post is of 5-year-old Jacob Philadelphia. As Jacob was leaving the White House, he asked a question to President Obama. Jacob asked, "I want to know if my hair is just like yours? " This picture speaks volumes.

The title of this post, " Down with Dope, Up with Hope " is a frequent quote used by Civil rights leader, Jesse Jackson, Sr. Hope is an important ingredient in substance abuse prevention in African American communities. Hope allows youth to believe that success is possible. For African Americans with substance use disorders in need of treatment, hope is also an important motivator. Particularly for those in communities who experience despair due to extreme poverty. A Native American outreach worker said it best. "My clients don't hit bottom; they live on the bottom. If we wait for them to hit bottom, they will die. The obstacle to their engagement in treatment is not an absence of pain; it is an absence of hope."