WEST CALDWELL, NJ — After nearly eight years of drug addiction and gang involvement, Michael DeLeon spent 12 years in state prison and half-way houses for a gang-related homicide. He now makes presentations across the United States to educate students and parents about alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs.

James Caldwell High School (JCHS) will host DeLeon, Founder of Steered Straight, on Tuesday, when he will focus especially on marijuana, which he characterizes as “likely the most misunderstood commercialized drug known to man.” 

DeLeon has produced a film, MarijuanaX, from which he will show excerpts during his presentations.

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“Marijuana’s perception of harm by youth has never been lower, and usage has never been higher. Potency has never been higher and the genetically-modified product that is being industrialized and commercialized is not being systematically tested," said DeLeon. "This should be very concerning to parents, to educators, to everyone. Educating people about the truth is more important now than ever.”

DeLeon will also discuss alcohol, tobacco, vaping, opiates and the abuse of prescription drugs.

After presentations during the day to JCHS students, DeLeon will give a parent presentation at 7 p.m. in the JCHS Center for Performing Arts. All are welcome to attend the evening presentation.

The purpose of Steered Straight, according to DeLeon’s web site, is "To reach youth and young adults through motivational speaking, life-sharing seminars and interactive curriculum in order to:

  • Provide youth with real-life examples of negative consequences that resulted from making poor decisions.
  • Impact the minds of youth to steer their lives in positive ways and encourage them to make positive life-choices.
  • Give kids the ability to develop a sense of understanding about the positive and negative choices in their lives.
  • Reduce the number of youth who end up in the criminal justice system due to making poor decisions."

For more information, visit www.steeredstraight.com.