Greg interviews Andy Duran, the Executive Director of LEAD (Linking Efforts Against Drugs). Founded in May 2012, LEAD is a drug prevention coalition based in Lake Forest/Lake Bluff, Illinois. Equipped with years of experience working with youth, Andy has created a new approach to drug prevention with LEAD. The nationally recognized organization offers training, workshops and technical assistance for organizations all over the country.

Greg asks Andy to shed light on the app created by the LEAD team to help youth stay drug free. Andy discusses how the community came together, after the tragic suicides of three teenagers, to discuss new prevention methods. He said it became very clear that young people who were struggling with anxiety, depression or substance abuse needed a new way to reach out. After looking for such a resource and coming up empty handed, Andy’s team decided to create an app of their own.

After recently creating the app, Andy explains how his team is taking the program a step further. “We’re training and recruiting teams of licensed health professionals in the communities in which we’re implementing [the app],” says Andy. “When a young person sends an anonymous text into our line, they’re being responded to directly by licensed professionals within their own community.”

Listen to the podcast to hear why licensed professionals providing local resources to youth is a key component to the app’s strategy.