Every year, Prevention Action Alliance hosts Advocacy Day to help prevention partners like you to advocate for prevention. Advocacy Day is a unique opportunity to meet and open a dialogue with your legislator about the importance of prevention and behavioral health to families and communities across our state. We don’t set the agenda or the platform at Advocacy Day, you do. We help you arrange meetings, give you statistics and information about prevention to help you make your case, and share strategies for communicating about the importance of prevention to lawmakers.
To combat the spread of COVID-19 and to keep advocates and legislators safe, we will virtually host Advocacy Day this year. We’re also extending it to a four-day event called Advocacy Week to be held from March 2 to March 5, 2021. These changes are necessary to ensure the health and safety of participants as well as to conduct a meaningful, virtual, and impactful event.
Why Join Us for Advocacy Week?
Many people are nervous about going to the Ohio Statehouse, meeting their representatives, and advocating for prevention. We do our best to make it easy by providing logistical support, such as bussing advocates downtown from our office and arranging your meetings for you. We also strive to give you the information you need to make your case for prevention, whether that’s current statistics about drug misuse, a fact sheet on the cost savings of prevention you can give to your legislator, or a quick primer on how to advocate for prevention.
At the end of it all, however, Advocacy Week is about standing up for the health and wellness of all Ohioans, particularly young people who have enough to deal with without adding substances into the mix. Every year, dozens of advocates join together to make this case to legislators, and those efforts bear fruit. Take, for example, Bonnie Shuman’s quest to raise awareness about the risks of alcohol use by pregnant women. Bonnie spent years advocating for a bill to raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrums Disorder, but it was Advocacy Day that helped her get an appointment with her representative—a conversation that eventually led to Senate Bill 340, which would create signs about the risks of FASDs.
“Advocacy Day gave me momentum. It created an easy opportunity for me to speak with and relate to my legislator. Without it, I wouldn’t have gotten to square one.”
—Bonnie Shuman, Advocate.
Substance misuse affects all of us, and we all have a role in prevention. Whatever you’re role is, please consider bringing your passion for prevention to Advocacy Week. Together, we can improve lawmakers’ understanding of and support for prevention and create better, healthier outcomes for all Ohioans.