Council On Drug Abuse

Council On Drug Abuse

November 13, 2009 08:00 ET

CODA Founders Murray Koffler and Frank Buckley Lead 40th Anniversary Celebrations November 16-20 in Toronto

Koffler's book Empowering Youth for 40 Years - The Council on Drug Abuse commemorative book launch

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 13, 2009) - In celebrating 40 years of tackling drug abuse in Canadian children and youth via creative and cutting edge education programs, CODA is both taking stock of its remarkable achievements in having reached one million Canadian youth and looking forward in instituting additional ground-breaking programs.

Even the founding of CODA illustrates the proactive determination that has become the organization's hallmark. On June 6, 1968 Murray Koffler, Chairman and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart was hosting a meeting of 300 pharmaceutical suppliers when the upbeat mood was shattered by the news of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. As the suspect was first described as a "drug-crazed youth", Koffler sensed the need for immediate action. Addressing the assembled pharmaceutical heads, he made an impassioned plea that Canadian drug manufacturers play a pivotal role in educating young people in the dangers of the illegal use of drugs.

The Council on Drug Abuse was born.

Thanks to the leadership of Koffler and Frank Buckley, then president of Buckley's cough syrup, CODA was able to attack drug abuse from both the supply and demand sides: by the involvement of the pharmacists who could play a major role in the monitoring abuse of the medications dispensed but also by reaching out to youth audiences in schools, starting as early as JK.

In its 40 years CODA has developed numerous strategic partnerships, a wide network of volunteers and an active and committed board of directors.

Key to the success of CODA has been a series of preventative drug education programs delivered in the school system geared to students, teachers, parents and health professionals.

- In Class Education (ICE), targets 10 - 13 year olds, in grades 7, 8 & 9, providing three presentations per year on the causes, physical, mental and long-term dangers of drug abuse, from prescription and over-the-counter products to alcohol to illegal street drugs including crystal meth, cocaine and heroin.

- CODA Certified Education (CCE), a certification program for the training and education of local professionals who deliver the ICE and other community based activities. These certified leaders share the passion and dedication in preventing substance abuse in their communities and include retired police officers, social workers and parents.

- The Youth Advisory Council members from across Canada provide CODA with valuable counsel on the creation of local drug abuse programs, offer feedback on existing activities and advocate against substance abuse in their schools, communities and among their friends.

- Crossroads, a series of five, 17 minute video documentaries featuring six young people who chronicle their own stories of the emotional pain and confusion that led them to drug and substance abuse. Crossroads is a key element in the classroom drug awareness and education program targeted to grades 7, 8 and 9 in Ontario schools.

Highlights of the 40th anniversary activities, to be held in Toronto, November 16 - 20, which are co-ordinated with National Addiction Awareness Week include:

- A national Webinar series of online discussions, workshops and seminars linking members of the Youth Advisory Council

- The launch of the commemorative book Empowering Youth for 40 Years - The Council on Drug Abuse published by The Koffler Family Foundation

- A strategic workshop "A Day of Substance" attended by partners, experts and stakeholders will focus on planning and evaluating programs and resources.

The Founders

Murray Koffler

Toronto pharmacist, businessman, humanitarian and philanthropist, Murray Koffler was only 17 when his father died, leaving two Koffler's Drug stores to his young son. After graduating in Pharmacy from University of Toronto, he expanded and developed Koffler's into the national chain Shoppers Drug Mart, illustrating his masterful and innovative skills as a merchandiser, marketer, and franchiser.

Mr. Koffler and his wife Marvelle have been active community members, establishing the Koffler Centre of the Arts at the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre, the Murray Koffler Urologic Wellness Centre and the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital, the Koffler Student Services Centre and the Koffler Institute of Pharmacy Management at the University of Toronto, among others.

His social responsibility activities include founding the Council on Drug Abuse, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair.

Frank Buckley

Frank Buckley began his career as a salesman in W.K. Buckley's, founded by his father in 1920, assuming the presidency of Buckley's after the death of his father in 1978. He had graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce and Finance degree and served in the Royal Navy during WW II.

Thanks to his natural abilities in broadcast media, Buckley became the public spokesperson for Buckley's in the 1980s for the "awful taste" ad campaign, which garnered the company wide visibility and increased sales. He remains the company's media spokesperson to this day. Buckley served the pharmaceutical industry in many capacities including President of the now Non-Prescription Drug Manufacturers Association of Canada.

A registered charity, CODA operates bilingually on a national level from headquarters in Toronto.

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