Mahatma Gandhi has been quoted as saying “you must be the change you want to see in the world” but being an agent of change is never easy. In fact, making a positive difference in our communities will be an uphill climb that will never be achieved without consistency. If there were no difficulties there would be no success and it is through our struggles that we discover our most significant achievements.

There is a mounting list of problems that the human race is facing requiring the need of serious and committed people working together to implement actual solutions. According to the Drug Trends in Iowa 2016 Report by the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, underage drinking and binge drinking in Iowa exceeds the national average, overdose deaths from Rx drugs and heroin are nearing all-time highs and marijuana is the primary substance being used by juveniles entering into treatment. There are some moments when the landscape around us can become overwhelming, causing temporary thoughts of pessimism. President Calvin Coolidge stated that it is “the slogan ‘Press On’ that has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” It is imperative that people stand firm in the conviction that success only comes through a sustained and consistent effort.

Through consistent prevention strategies steps are being taken throughout many communities to bring about immediate and long-term positive changes addressing substance use disorders and other negative issues that directly impact the health and safety of people. Collectively people are uniting together to be the change that they want to see in the world that surrounds them. Because of these consistent efforts youth substance abuse in Iowa overall has steadily declined over the last decade.

Outcomes like these happen through the consistent partnerships between ASAC, community Coalitions, community organizations, and the countless community members that strive to be the change that is needed. Lasting change takes time so the work being accomplished is not a sprint but it is a marathon. Consistent hard work always leads to success and there is evidence of that in our communities already. The climb might be uphill but it is through our consistency to overcome every obstacle that will bring even more outcomes of positive lasting change.