There are many ways you can make a difference.
Ready to spread awareness in your school and community?
Different Ways to Raise Awareness
We want people to know that anyone can be affected by a fentapill, and we use social media to spread our awareness messages because that is where we can reach most of today’s youth. If you are willing to share your story, you can help!
- Social Media Testimonial: If you are interested in submitting a personal testimonial of your experience losing a family member or friend for SFC to use to raise awareness on social media, click here to read how you can submit a video to us. Or you could post on your own social media site and tag us at #songforcharlie.
- Victim Spotlights: If you would like us to Spotlight your child in our social media posts, you can submit your child’s information by clicking here. Note: while we have not yet turned down a spotlight request, we have a limited number of spotlight slots available, and we cannot guarantee that every victim will be spotlighted.
Fentanyl-related drug deaths are on the rise nationwide. Oftentimes newspapers and news stations are looking to find a local angle to this national story, and if your family experienced a loss of a young person, the media may be especially interested in talking to you. If you are willing to share your family’s story, consider reaching out to your local newspaper or news station. This approach is not for all families, and no one should feel obligated to share a story they are not comfortable sharing. But if you are, here are a few tips for working with media:
- Media usually have an angle to drug death stories, i.e. youth deaths, mental health, border wall, etc. We recommend making sure you ask about what the angle of the story is before you begin any interviews to ensure you are in agreement with the angle being presented. Not all opportunities to share your story with the media are good opportunities.
- Decide how much of your personal story you want to share ahead of time, and stick with it. You are always entitled to say ‘no comment’ if asked a question that is too personal or that you simply don’t want to answer.
- Consider the key messages you want to get across before you go into the interview, and do your best to speak about those messages whenever possible, even if the questions asked aren’t directly related to what you want to say. Sometimes you have to work hard to get the message you want across. Also, we’d appreciate it if you send people to Song for Charlie as a resource!
- If the interviews are not going the way you want, it is okay to stop an interview or news story. You may limit your opportunities for future coverage, but your mental health should be a priority.
- Lastly, even with the best of research and preparation, ultimately the media has control over how they will present a story and often stories turn out different than how you expect– perhaps they are too short, don’t address something that is important to you, or misuse your words. If this happens, be kind to yourself and move on. Even if it didn’t turn out exactly the way you wanted, some coverage on this important issue is better than no coverage at all!
Sometimes, you can make greatest impact right in your backyard.
While getting into schools is one of the fastest ways to reach large numbers of kids in your community, you can also reach youth through church groups, scouts, sports clubs, pediatrician’s offices, counselor’s offices, and any other youth-centered organizations. Because schools usually need approvals to implement new education programs, oftentimes these smaller organizations are quickest to act.
Before reaching out to them, think about what you want to ask them to do. Do you want them to allow you to share your story to their community? Do you want them to host a town hall? Many of the same resources that schools would be interested in would also be helpful to these youth-focused groups, so refer to our resources for reaching out to schools.
Contact your local and state health departments to find out what they are doing to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl in your community. Ask for a meeting to share your story, and if they don’t have a plan in place, ask them to make a plan. State & local health departments sometimes react faster if they receive a nudge from affected families. They also are sometimes in need of families who are willing to share their stories to create awareness campaigns– if you are willing to share your family’s story as a warning to others, let them know.
National work can take more work, but it also can have a bigger impact.
National organizations that support youth could also be avenues for raising awareness: scouts, sports organizations, etc. If you have contacts at these organizations and would like help formulating a plan to educate them, let us know.
The fentanyl epidemic is a complex problem that will take more than increased awareness to solve. We appreciate the work of all of the groups that are working to reduce overdose deaths, whether they are focusing on awareness, social media reforms, the border, legislation, harm reduction, recovery, mental health, or any other aspect of the problem.
Our elected leaders have the ability to influence laws, funding and more. Writing a letter to or meeting with your elected leaders in person can be a great way to make them aware of what their constituents want. Ask for a meeting with your local elected officials to share your story & ask them what they are doing to fight the fentanyl crisis. Be prepared to share what you know about how youth are being impacted by the introduction of synthetic opioids into the illicit drug market. If there is any local or national legislation that you would like them to support, write them a letter to tell them so. Your legislatures work for YOU, and your stories are powerful! If you don’t know who your local legislatures are click here to find out.
Work with Other Organizations You Believe In:
Below are some other organizations working hard to attack the opioid crisis, and you may choose to work with some of them. If you do your research, you will also find many other organizations doing good work. We recommend carefully evaluating any organization you engage with to ensure it aligns with your beliefs.
Social Media Reform:
Flow of Illegal Drugs into the U.S.:
Youth Mental Health Programs:
Changing Drug Legislation:
Do you have ideas on how to get involved?
Join our Fundraising Initiative
There are a variety of ways you can help make an impact by joining our fundraising efforts. Celebrate your birthday, ignite your workplace, tap your community or honor a loved one by creating a Song for Charlie Fundraiser. Together we can empower more families and we need your help!