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Real Talk Program Expands for 2019-2020 and Celebrates 4th Year of Providing Substance Abuse Education in Public Schools


August 16, 2019
Partnership with the Miss Florida Scholarship Competition has reached more than 7,500 students in Florida schools

ORLANDO, FL – (August 16, 2019) – Advanced Recovery Systems is proud to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Real Talk educational program, a partnership between Advanced Recovery Systems and the Miss Florida Scholarship Competition.   

The Real Talk sessions are conducted in group assemblies at schools and colleges. The primary facilitator, Miss Florida 2019, Michaela McLean encourages students to share their experiences and ask questions about substance abuse in a supportive, judgment-free environment. Students also learn about healthy habits for their futures. In May 2019, Advanced Recovery Systems expanded the program and trained 20 additional ambassadors to help facilitate free workshops across the state.  

In July 2019, Florida became the third state in the nation to require mental health education in public schools. Under the new law, schools are required to cover topics such as cyberbullying, suicide prevention and the impact of substance abuse as part of their mental health education. Real Talk helps to bring this important subject matter into the classroom.   

“We’ve reached over 7,500 high school students through open, honest discussions about substance abuse and addiction,” said Vice President of Business Development of Advanced Recovery Systems, Allison Walsh. “We are thrilled to expand our reach this year with the addition of 20 new brand ambassadors across the state, allowing us to bring an impactful message to even more communities. With teen mental health being a top priority in Florida, we are motivated to continue to be a part of the solution.”  

The Real Talk curriculum incorporates prevention techniques included in The Alcohol Literacy Challenge™, developed by nationally-recognized researchers Michael Dunn, PhD and Thomas Hall, PhD. The Alcohol Literacy Challenge™ is the first classroom-based prevention program that specifically challenges students’ beliefs about the effects of drinking alcohol. McLean and the Real Talk Ambassadors use this curriculum as a springboard to educate students on the risks associated with newly emerging drug trends and equip them with skills on how to abstain from dangerous behaviors.     

The Real Talk presentation is offered free of charge and is appropriate for ages 13+. To request a Real Talk presentation, complete this form  

To learn more about Real Talk, please visit or contact Vice President of Business Development Allison Walsh at [email protected]  

About Advanced Recovery Systems
Advanced Recovery Systems is an integrated behavioral health care management company dedicated to the treatment of addiction, substance abuse and mental health conditions. Advanced Recovery Systems’ network of treatment centers includes The Recovery Village Umatilla (Umatilla, Florida), The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake (Palmer Lake, Colorado), The Recovery Village Ridgefield (Ridgefield, Washington), The Recovery Village Columbus (Groveport, Ohio), Orlando Recovery Center (Orlando, Florida), and The IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery (Upper Marlboro, Maryland). Advanced Recovery Systems also manages three locations of Next Step Village (Maitland, Umatilla and Eustis, Florida), recovery residences providing supportive, transitional living opportunities. For more information, visit   

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