Alumnus Leads Event That Helps Fight Substance Abuse

News Date
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ASU alumnus Johnnie Levert (Class of 2017) is directing this July 24 event in the park.


ASU Alumnus Leads Substance Abuse Prevention Event 

By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU 

Substance abuse is a problem that cuts across all demographics and neighborhoods and causes a multitude of both individual and community problems. In the spirit of "CommUniversity," Alabama State University is working in cooperation with the Montgomery Council on Substance Abuse (COSA) to highlight an awareness event on July 24, titled "Pride in the Park.” The event will take place in Montgomery's Oak Park (pavilion number-four) from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Pride in the Park has as its goal to bring heightened awareness to problems related to alcohol-abuse, drug-dependence and HIV. 

ASU alumnus Johnnie Levert (Class of 2017) is the event’s coordinator. Levert serves as the director of COSA’s “Sekou” project. Sekou is an African word that means wise and educated. 

"We are working in cooperation with my alma mater, ASU, to have an event on Saturday, July 24, that will highlight the dangers of substance abuse and also educate local folks regarding HIV awareness. We are doing this in Oak Park that is just across from the ASU campus, and it will be an event that allows us to have some fun and fellowship while also discussing some serious topics that can help save and better the lives of local residents," Levert said. 


Levert explained that there will be live entertainment at the event that includes a band, a DJ, dancing, games, food trucks, free informational packets and live counseling.  

"We will have professionals present to answer questions, propose solutions and offer community resources for recovery," Levert stated. "Substance abuse is a big, big, problem today in Montgomery and across the nation that manifests itself everywhere; be it rich or poor, white or black, straight or gay. Our purpose for this event is to make a positive impact and help people realize that drugs and alcohol are not the answers to depression or problems." 


Research data indicates that substance abuse disorders are among the top public health problems in the United States. Experts explain that a majority of families have members within them who have problems with alcoholism and/or drug dependency.

Data on these issues show that substance abuse can have an impact on the health of the user, their social network, their community, society, and the economy. According to studies involving clinical experts and scientists, alcohol is considered to be the most harmful drug due to its indirect effects involving other people (DUI deaths, domestic violence, crimes including homicides) followed by heroin and cocaine. Alcohol is also considered to be the third most harmful in terms of effects directly impacting the user, after heroin and cocaine. Alcoholism and illegal drug use is the principle contributor to disability-adjusted life years lost for young people. Alcohol abuse was responsible for 95,000 deaths and 2.8 million years of potential life lost in the United States from 2011-2015.

"The good news is that the impact of substance abuse may be reduced with early intervention, and it may help minimize substance use disorders in adulthood," said Levert. 


Levert explained that the event is open to everyone, particularly people who suffer from the diseases of alcoholism and drug-dependency, as well as those who wish to learn more so they may help a loved one.

"I am proud that what I learned in ASU's social work program allows me to offer help and assistance to people here in Montgomery who suffer from these drug and alcohol issues and who are from all walks of life. I invite everyone to attend our event in the park so they may learn more to help themselves or someone that they care about," Levert stated.


The Montgomery Council on Substance Abuse-NCADD (COSA-NCADD) is a private non-profit organization founded in 1973 to promote the understanding that alcoholism and other drug-dependence are preventable and treatable diseases.

COSA-NCADD is the state affiliate of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency and a member of the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America. The agency’s mission is to reduce the incidence and prevalence of the disease of alcoholism, other drug addiction diseases, and related problems, with a primary focus on the community and the belief that recovery is possible and desirable. COSA-NCADD provides an array of addiction-related services at the local level, including information and referrals; public awareness campaigns; prevention and education programs in schools, communities and workplaces; intervention and treatment services; and advocacy on behalf of people affected by the disease of alcoholism/addiction and their families.

For more information on the event visit

News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.