Tom Farley Shares Insight into Substance Abuse Prevention

April 23, 2009

Tom Farley presentation at Mount Union CollegeTom Farley, brother of the late comedian and actor Chris Farley, shared with students the communication skills necessary for making healthy decisions at Mount Union College on Monday evening.

Tom met with students, faculty, and staff in Campus Grounds and signed copies of his book, The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts. Following his book signing, he spoke about the dangers of substance abuse and shared the story of his famous brother’s  battle with drugs and alcohol.

Tom opened with an inspiring video filled with appearances by many of Chris’ best friends advocating for substance abstinence, including actors David Spade and Adam Sandler and former NFL player Bill Romanowski.

When telling his story, Tom admitted he uses Chris’ personality as a model for his motivational talks with students.

“Chris loved to invoke laughter and see people enjoy life,” said Tom.

Because of this, Tom uses humor to connect with others and reaches out through comedy, as Chris did. During his presentation, Tom used an improv skit to illustrate his message. He said that improv forces people to listen hyper intensively, because they are going two different ways initially. By listening and communicating clearly, Farley said that people can connect with one another and make good choices, which is what happened during the improv skit.

“It’s incredible what you can accomplish when you get people to work together,” said Tom.

Tom applied this advice to drug and alcohol abuse, and reminded students that no one accomplishes anything when they are under the influence.

 “Life is very precious and you’ve got choices,” he said. “The best times of Chris’ life were when he was sober.”

He also said that students have a great knowledge of information about drugs and alcohol that was not available in this past, but students nAlliance Middle School sessioneed to “unlock” this information and use it.

Tom expressed that he wanted to influence others to make healthy decisions right after his brother died from an overdose in 1997. According to Tom, students need to find something they’re passionate about and live for that; they need to find an “antidrug.”

He gave students this advice, “Find what really gets you going. Protect it. Grow it. Don’t let anything come between it and you. And when you find what it is – that’s a great prevention.”

A question and answer session followed his presentation. Breakout sessions highlighting drug and alcohol awareness also took place at Alliance Middle School on Tuesday.

These events were possible through a Mount Union Student Senate P.R.E.P. Grant, a Great Cities grant, The Office of Student Affairs and additional support from the Office of Service-Learning and Community Service.

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