Citizen participation is an essential component of any democratic government. In order to be representatives of the people, legislators need input and feedback from the people they represent on important issues. Many people never have any contact with those who represent them in government despite the significant impact the decisions of elected officials have on their lives. As a citizen, you can help ensure good legislation on the state and national levels by communicating with your elected representatives at the proper time.

According to their consciences, prevention professionals should be proactive on public policy and legislative issues. The public welfare and the individual’s right to services and personal wellness should guide the efforts of prevention professionals to educate the general public and policy makers. Prevention professionals should adopt a personal and professional stance that promotes health.

This guide will teach you how to engage in advocacy for substance use prevention, but the principles covered can be applied to any advocacy effort at any level of government. The guide explains how to be a vocal, visible and valuable advocate and gives an overview of the difference between education and lobbying. It provides guidance for developing an effective advocacy strategy.