TN: Nashville Ex-Con Points to Vaping, Alcohol, and Marijuana in National Addiction Crisis

Renowned speaker and addiction expert Michael DeLeon raises the alarm on the dangers of vaping, alcohol, and marijuana – the trifecta he believes plays a central role in the ongoing national addiction crisis. In his mission to save lives, DeLeon underscores the increasing issue of unregulated hemp-derived cannabinoids like Delta-8 and Delta-10 and the deadly influx of Fentanyl across U.S. borders.

DeLeon introduced himself and discussed his history and Steered Straight programs at a recent training event in Nashville for the local chapter of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. He dresses the part as needed to interact effectively with his audience, so don’t think lesser of him if you see him wearing a backward baseball cap and slouch wear.

DeLeon, a successfully acclimated ex-offender turned prominent anti-drug activist, has a haunting past. After an 8-year struggle with drug addiction, he served 12 years in prison for a gang-related homicide that involved the murder of his mother by individuals initially tasked to kill him.

After his release, DeLeon reinvented his life. He earned three Associates Degrees, a Baccalaureate in Business Management with a minor in Criminal Justice and a CADC Educational Certificate. He is working toward his Tobacco Treatment Specialist certification from the University of Kentucky School of Nursing, a Masters Degree in Social Work at Liberty University School of Social Work, and pursuing his LCADC.

DeLeon dedicates his life to educating others about the harsh realities of substance abuse and its dangers. Having recently relocated from New Jersey to Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, DeLeon actively engages with schools, educators, parents, and law enforcement, sharing his knowledge and experiences.

The expert, who has presented to 13 million students, staff, and parents since 2000, is deeply concerned about the trifecta of addiction – vaping, alcohol, and marijuana. He expresses concern about hemp-derived cannabinoids, such as Delta-8 and Delta-10, which are legal in all 50 states under the 2018 federal Farm Bill. The lack of regulations for these products, their widespread availability, and the absence of any legal minimum age for purchase create a highly risky environment for America’s youth.

Moreover, he warns of a significant rise in adverse events among children due to these substances. A disturbing testament to this trend, the National Poison Data System reported 660 incidents of adverse reactions in people exposed to Delta-8 within the first seven months of 2021. Approximately 41% of the incidents were unintentional exposure, and a shocking 77% involved children younger than 18.

Adding to the crisis, DeLeon points to a deadly influx of Fentanyl across U.S. borders. Alarmingly, this potent opioid finds its way into candies and counterfeit medications in lethal doses. DeLeon says these aren’t attempts to hook people on drugs or enhance their highs – they’re designed to kill Americans.

As marijuana, vaping, and alcohol continue to fuel the national addiction crisis, DeLeon emphasizes the need for clearer regulations, increased public awareness, and concerted action. His firsthand addiction experience and relentless commitment to prevention illuminate the urgent need to address these escalating challenges.

In a society grappling with the trifecta of addiction, voices like DeLeon’s are critical. Amid lax regulations, inadequate testing, and a dangerous influx of lethal substances, he brings hope and pushes for change to ensure a safer, better-informed future for America’s youth.

DeLeon is on a mission to get the word out to educators, law enforcement, parents, and school kids about the importance of breaking the link. He explains that while an occasional drink, smoking pot, or vaping on their own do not seem like much to some parents of the modern age, they are not aware of everything their child is doing. DeLeon states most kids are hiding at least one of the three if they are doing any of these. He says until the brain matures and they can make rational decisions as an adult, they are seriously damaging their brain – which does not fully develop until their 20s. He says we must ensure minors are not vaping and smoking because it is dangerous.

For more information on DeLeon, or his program, Steered Straight (he says the A&E program Scared Straight was not effective) and how to arrange for Steered Straight or DeLeon, you can find him online at the program’s website or on one of their social media accounts.

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Tags: Harm Reduction

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