The North Bay Police Service has asked some local celebrities to help support their #TimeToTalk campaign. The initiative is a partnership between the Community Drug Strategy North Bay & Area and the local police service.
Ryan Hunter, an offensive lineman with the NFL's Los Angeles Chargers, and Mike Yeo, an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers, were among a number of high profile North Bay people that spoke out about drug and alcohol abuse through social media this past week.
Hunter, during his zoom message, admitted that he believes drugs and alcohol have no place in anyone's body including his own.
"Anyone who has dreams and aspirations of doing things in life, whether it be through sports or another career that you like and want to do for a living, using drugs and alcohol will only affect you in a negative way," said Hunter.
"Ever since I got into the NFL I pretty much stopped drinking because it stops my recovery, it does not let me do the things I need to do to be successful and I challenge you guys to hold yourselves accountable and hold your friends accountable to make yourselves better people and to strive to be successful in life no matter what you choose to do."
For Yeo, the tragedy behind what drugs and alcohol can do, have impacted him directly.
"Whatever you do, it is not going to be an easy path all the time," said Yeo, who also coached with the Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"For me I had surgeries, I got cut, I got fired but you have to just put your head down and keep on working and never give up on those hard times.
"The HashTag #TimetoTalk please share it with everyone. It is and one that hits personally for me because this past winter we lost a loved one. A 24-year-old, he had everything going for him and he got involved with some stuff that took his life way too soon. So very hard for his family, for us, a lot of people miss him. So please, please, please do not go down that path. There is always someone there to help you. You can always turn to someone and if somebody needs that help then be there for them any way you can."
David Woolley, Corporate Communications Officer with the North Bay Police Service, has been impressed with the feedback he's received from the initiative.
"We are very excited and grateful that so many people have been willing to take part in the #TimeToTalk campaign," Woolley said.
"Our Community Heroes come from all walks of life – professional athletes, Olympians, business owners, actors, students, law enforcement, and so many others. They are all helping to end the stigma of talking about at-risk substance use, mental health, bullying, and abuse. We hope their messages show people dealing with these challenges that they are not alone in their struggles and that there are people in our community and around the world who want to make a positive change.
"We encourage everyone to follow the lead of our Community Heroes and get involved in the #TimeToTalk campaign by using the hashtag #TimeToTalk, sharing their own video or post on social media, and adding the #TimeToTalk frame to their Facebook profile picture."