Dear Libby Schaaf:


We are writing to you, the mayor of Oakland, because you are a strong woman who cares about this city and the youth of Oakland. I believe that you can be the voice towards fighting for the youth and stopping drug abuse in our community. By speaking out to leading members the community about drug abuse and how the youth are abusing it, you can create a change in our community. It only takes one person of power to spend time and advocate for change, we believe that you can do this.


The issue is that there are no programs to help youth with drug addictions. We need more support in Oakland, to help youth with their drug abuse. The people that are affected by this, is the youth that had the courage to speak up or help, and they don’t get it. What caused this problem is the fact that you’re not making a change that will help Oakland youth. The effects on youth is that they just stay quiet with this issue, when they should be getting help. To prove this, from The Recovery Village article titled Drug Use In High School, they explain how teens abusing drugs and alcohol increased. It explains,”According to experts, around 13% of people who start smoking pot as teenagers become dependent on it. Regular marijuana use can cause a drop in IQ of up to 8 points. Considering that nearly 3,300 teens try weed for the first time every day, it’s an undeniable problem that’s impacting high schoolers everywhere”(The Recovery Village). This quote is important because it explains how smoking weed at such a young age can have an impact on them that can affect their whole lives. Since this statistic is here, that means that we need to give more support for teens because they need it. Furthemore, the article called, TEEN DRUG ADDICTION explains how teens can get addicted to drugs, and how different types of drugs affect the brain. They explain,” All drugs hijack the reward circuitry of your brain, causing abnormal and uncommonly large amounts of dopamine to flood your system. This may last longer than a natural release of dopamine and causes the high associated with drugs. While you may begin using drugs voluntarily, eventually the drugs alter your brain function. This impairs your ability to feel normal or to think clearly and rationally without drugs. All of this contributes to the compulsive drug use and drug-seeking behaviors that are common with teen drug addiction”(administrator). This quote is important because it explains how smoking marijuana can affect someone’s brain. The issue is that when teens are addicted and dont have drugs, the wont be able to feel normal or comfortable, which means they’ll grow up using their money on drugs instead of doing something better. We need more programs to help stop teens with drug addictions, so that they don’t grow up with an addiction.

Tactics of Social Change:

When looking for tactics of social change to address the issue of teen drug abuse we were surprised with what we found. We found out there was only 1 program for youth to go and it has terrible reviews that people say it doesn’t even help them and its a scam (Teen Challenge International, 2221 90th Ave, Oakland, CA 94603, this is important and should be looked at).We know this because of the reviews it gets, one review by Jose Magadan says, “1. Consling there are from ex drug addict’s . 2. When they count money begged at store’s, they steal it and still get high at program. 3. They wanted me do extra year and be there slave. Me help this place, no way ,fake program for addictions. 4.if I can give( NO ?), be good !!!!!!” This review shows why there should be actually programs to help youth with drug problems because this is the only one in oakland that doesn’t even help the youth. There is also another review that gives it one star but doesn’t explain anything and just says “lord knows why”. A tactic of social change that was found on, a website dedicated to letting the voices of youth or anyone be heard, had an Article by Angel about how drug abuse is a problem in Oakland. The articles says how youth are also affected by this drug problem because of the accessibility they have to it and peer pressure. The article also gives ideas of ways they can address the issue of drug abuse in Oakland such as rehab support.


The first step we did was making an instagram account to inform people about drugs and its impact on youth. On this account we will post facts, places where people could get help, and anything else we think connects to our proposal like art. Steps we will take is trying to get media attention so there are at least people who know about us. We could do this by posting on our account and using hashtags so others who are interested and see them. Then we could hopefully find a charity that address the drug problem like we do, set up a go fund me and all funds go to that charity. If we get support from well known, and respected people we could easily get attention to support our plan. Although, this will be much easier said than done so we could use your help to addressing the issue because there are limits to what we can do. We would be happy if we gave this proposal attention to Oakland or anywhere else.


In conclusion, to raise awareness about drug abuse we will spread information about drugs and its impact on youth, especially Oakland’s youth. We will do this through different social media platforms like Instagram. If you would like to be a supporter of this cause please follow our instagram @oakland_drug_support  and continue supporting and advocating for stopping drug abuse among oakland youth.


Gregorio Guzman

Kassandra Santillan

Khalid dobashi



Annotated Bibliography

Administrator. “Teen Drug Addiction.” Project Know, 16 Nov. 2018,

This article is about how drug addictions occur for teens, and how different types of drugs affect the brain. This article helped me because it gave a detailed explanation on how drug addictions happens in the bran. Something strong from this article is that it explains what happens to the brain when you do drugs. A weakness is that is doesn’t focus more on marijuana.

Angel. “Drug Abuse in Oakland.” Youth Voices, 24 Jan. 2017, drug abuse.

This article is about how drug abuse is a problem in Oakland. The strength of this article is that the author is from Oakland but a weakness is its few grammar mistakes. This is relevant because it talks about the drug problem in Oakland that our proposal is about. This source is credible because its a person who has been in Oakland so they know a lot about here.

“California Marijuana Abuse Statistics, Rates, and Treatment.” San Diego Addiction Treatment Center,

This article is about California’s marijuana abuse rates, and has statistics. This article helped my project because it gave me important statistics about marijuana abuse in California. One strength is giving statistics on marijuana. One weakness is it doesn’t talk about youth abusing marijuana a lot. This source is credible because its not only a website informing you about marijuana, but it’s also a treatment center, which means they want to help people abusing marijuana. This article doesn’t have a conclusion because it just gives you facts on marijuana use in California.

“Drug Use in High School.” The Recovery Village, 16 Feb. 2018,

This article is about explain how teens abusing drugs and alcohol increased. This article helped me with my project because it gave me statistics on how may teens abuse drugs, and also how it has an impact on them. Something strong about this article is that it gives good facts that are important ad specific. A weakness is that they also talk about alcohol use, when we only need youth abusing marijuana / drugs statistics.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Nationwide Trends.” NIDA, 25 June 2019,

This article is about marijuana usage nationwide. This article helped me because it gave important statistics on marijuana usage. One weakness this article has is that it doesn’t speak a lot on California. One strength this article has is in giving me information nationwide. This is a reliable source because the website talks a lot about drugs, such as opioids.

Savidge, Nico, and Louis Freedberg. “Impact of Marijuana Legalization in California on Teens Uncertain.” EdSource, 18 Jan. 2018,

This article is about how legalizing marijuana in California has an impact on teens. This article helped me on my project because it talks about marijuana and its impact on youth. One weakness this article has is that they don’t give information on one of the authors, Nico Savidge. One strength this article has is explaining how legalizing marijuana impacts teens. This is a reliable source because the author, Louis Freedberg, has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in child development from Yale University. He also spent 15 years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was an award-winning education reporter, Washington correspondent, columnist, and member of the editorial board, this means that he has experience in this work, and is a professional.

Magadan, Jose. Review of Teen Challenge International.

This review talks about how the program is terrible and a scam. This is relevant because the only program that is meant to help youth isn’t actually helpful. This is a strong source because it shows we need more programs for youth drug problems. This is a weak source because we don’t actually know if he’s telling the truth. This is credible because another person gave it one star but with a short message.

McCarthy, Niall, and Felix Richter. “Infographic: U.S. Marijuana Market: The Grass Is Getting Greener.” Statista Infographics, 4 Jan. 2018,

This image is about how marijuana use has increased, and a prediction on how much it’ll continue to increase if there’s no change. This graph helped me because it shows how much money people are making by selling marijuana (medical and recreational use). A weakness this image has is that it doesn’t show how it affects youth. A strength this image has is that it gives predictions on how much money the US marijuana market will make in the next six years.

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Raven N Reed
May 2, 2019 1:16 am

Greetings Gregorio, Kassandra and Khalid,

I love the topic your group has picked, drugs and addiction in general is a huge problem for families as well as teens as noted within your project. It is important for teens to have some type of drug awareness education and treatment services other than just say no. I think that it is smart that you’ve provided within your argument easy to copy and paste website that your audience can go to, people are more likely to do research the easier they can find sources. I have two brief points of criticism.. The format for the remainder of the project is fine, but it was off-putting that you started the letter with Audience. It makes it obvious that this is an assignment rather than something ya’ll were passionate about. Second, I wouldn’t rely as heavily on the reviews of just 2 teens. It makes seems like reviews were “cherry-picked,” to best suit your needs rather for objectivity. I’d suggest having more reviews, to alleviate possible perceived biased. It is a shocking statistic alone that they was only one drug treatment facility catered to teens, the reviews as listed hurt that section.

I’m impressed with your work, if you wouldn’t mind I’d love to send my students to your page so as an example of projects they can create!

May 1, 2019 4:23 am

Gregorio, Kassandra and Khalid –

I’d like to start off by saying how much of a wonderful job you have done with presenting this upstander proposal. The topic that you’re addressing is definitely one that needs all the attention that it can get. I’m very glad to know that there are individual’s like yourselves that are voicing out their opinions about helping the Oakland youth in regard to drug abuse. Something that really shocked me is that you all mentioned that there is only one youth program that is supposed to address drug abuse, but in reality it doesn’t, which is upsetting. Which is why I mentioned earlier that I’m glad to know that you guy’s are voicing out your thoughts and opinions, especially to the city mayor. I am all for your guy’s plan of making an instagram account along with obtaining a charity that address’s the issue. Instagram accounts definitely bring awareness to the public, especially with hashtags that capture the reader’s attention. I have followed your instagram account and I am looking forward to seeing the progress of your guys’s plan.

Reply to  Alondra
May 2, 2019 6:43 pm

Dear Alondra,

Thank you for the support and follow! We appreciate you for following our instagram account. I agree that it is upsetting that there aren’t places youth can go to for help. It’s even more upsetting that the ‘program’ that should be helping youth with drug addictions just keep them as ‘slaves’ to beg for money, and smoke drugs. What’s even worse is that they went there to get help, not get high. We want and need to make a change. We look forward to your support! Thank you for taking the time to follow us and read this post.

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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