Founders of The Evan G. Foundation, Stephanie and John Greene, of Easton, recently announced that during the past year they sponsored 30 “No First Time” early education drug awareness programs, bringing their message to over 6,500 middle and high school students, teachers and parents across Massachusetts.

They plan to expand the program, inviting schools and other organizations to schedule “No First Time” presentations through the rest of 2019.

At each venue, John and Stephanie share their son Evan’s story. The program features an educational component usually presented by John Fanning, a Massachusetts State Trooper and Drug Recognition Expert until 2016, and first-hand account presented by an individual in recovery. The presentation includes a PowerPoint segment followed by a Q&A period.

“Our ultimate goal is to educate young people on the dangers of experimenting with drugs and engaging in risky behavior,” said Stephanie. “If there is no first time, no other parents will have to suffer as we have done since Evan died in 2014 at age 19.”

There may be some positive news in the state’s anti-drug crusade. According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, deaths from opioid overdoses has shown a two-year decline from 2016 to 2018. Still, there were about 1,970 deaths this past year.

Gov. Charlie Baker, a supporter of The Evan G. Foundation, issued a Proclamation two years ago highlighting the “No First Time” campaign.

“While there is still a lot of work to do, this report is encouraging news that gives us hope that we are beginning to bend the curve of this epidemic,” Baker said.

John Greene says the decrease may be due to many factors but early student/young adult education is key.

To schedule a presentation, email nofirsttime@gmail.com and request an Event Host Agreement.

For information and/or to make a tax-deductible, a registered 501C3 charity, donation, visit http://evangfoundation.org.

Checks made payable to “The Evan G. Foundation” may be mailed to The Evan G. Foundation, 10 Oliver St., North Easton, Massachusetts 02356.