Every day, teens are bombarded with messages telling them what to do, how to look, and who to be with. These messages are found wherever kids turn—on television shows, on the news, on social media, and in video games. These messages often depict teens using drugs and engaging in other unhealthy behaviors. The reality, however, is that the majority of teens do not use drugs. Instead, they’re leading their peers in preventing substance misuse and promoting mental health wellness by getting involved in youth-led prevention.
We created the We Are The Majority Rally to counter the false perception that most young people use drugs. The WATM Rally celebrates the fact that the majority of young people are not using drugs or alcohol, and it lets teens know that they’re not alone when they decide not to use drugs. The WATM Rally corrects the misperception that most youth use drugs and show our youth for who they really are—friends who support one another and leaders working to build healthy communities, prevent substance misuse, and promote mental health wellness. The WATM Rally also affords hundreds of youth the opportunity to advocate for youth-led prevention at the Ohio Statehouse.Since the rally began in 2011, more than 14,000 teens have marched in it.
“By being the majority today and everyday, we are focusing on good choices and positive habits to create a better future. …We are the majority, and we are here to encourage others to be a part of the positive majority.” – Jade Eilers, OYLPN Youth Council and Miss Teen Ohio International
With the help of schools, youth-serving organizations, and students from across Ohio, and with help from our sponsors, the eighth WATM Rally brought about 2,000 youth to downtown Columbus to celebrate the fact that most young people do not use drugs. Together, those youth fostered solidarity with each other, raised awareness about the fact that the majority of youth in Ohio do not use drugs, and told state legislators and members of the media that they’re a part of the majority of youth who are making healthy and responsible decisions.
The WATM Rally is an event of the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network. OYLPN empowers youth to prevent drug misuse and promote mental health wellness among Ohio teens. OYLPN is a network of Prevention Action Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to leading healthy communities in the prevention of substance misuse and the promotion of mental health wellness.