Seat belts and airbags help prevent injuries in cars. Sunscreen prevents sunburn. But how do you help prevent substance abuse among teens and young adults? A coalition of organizations in the Plata county is working together to develop programs to do exactly that. You’re watching the Local News Network, brought to you by The Payroll Department, and Kroegers Ace Hardware. I’m Wendy Graham Settle.
So ROAR stands for, Recognizing Opportunities Around Resilience, and it’s a coalition that’s focused on substance use prevention for youth in Plata county. We focus on prevention so that can look like a lot of different things. We do like harm reduction education. So we did an event at the fore this week where we kind of sponsor event where people talked about harm reduction, opioids and kind of just getting information out about like statistics and stuff like that. But we do offer a lot of… For everything from like a lens of positivity.
Substance abuse among teens and young adults is an ongoing issue. And ROAR’s coalition organizations are all focusing on finding different ways to address the problem. ROAR provides everything from resources for dealing with addiction and abuse to community based events that provide a safe space for young adults to hang out together.
Also just trying to work on those social connections and positive community norm. Just having like community and connection is a huge way to combat substance use. If people feel like they have people they can turn to and they don’t feel alone and don’t feel like they need maybe to go into substances. That’s a huge way to do that. So that’s like these events it’s by, we’re like trying to connect more with the youth in the community through our community partners but also eventually having like youth advisory council. Getting youth input on, you know. What are like events that or spaces or things that would make me feel more safe and more connected to the community?
It’s not just about providing resources and safe spaces to hang out with friends though. ROAR uses statistics from healthy kids Colorado to help change the way drugs are talked about in the community. By changing the narrative from a negative to more of a positive message.
Well, we’re not saying that like, don’t do drugs. We’re not saying like, stuff like that. We’re not dare. We’re trynna say, like, you know there’s the perception that everyone’s using substances and everyone’s partying all the time and stuff like that. It all falls like it’s… If you look at data from healthy kids Colorado, which is what informs a lot of our work, it’s, it’s less than that. It’s like the 30% that used to having some of alcohol. There’s like 4% of young people are… You know, using prescription drugs. So let’s celebrate those 90% or those 70% of people who are.. who are not, and change that norm so that if you’re not involved in that stuff, you don’t feel lame or left out like… Do what makes you happy? And, you know, celebrating like your friendships and communities and clubs you’re part of. Like, let’s focus on that instead.
ROAR sponsors a mixture of education and fun events around town partnering with youth centered spaces like The Hive to create reliable locations for young adults. It also publishes a monthly newsletter for free or low-cost events for teens and young adults ages 16 to 28. Upcoming events include a poetry workshop at the hive on March 23rd and a spring into science event sponsored by the powerhouse science center on March 22nd and 24th.
That’s what we try to do. With these coalitions is not just be a like… Okay! Well. This one nonprofit or this like one part of the health department’s going to decide everything. It’s like… Let’s try to get as many voices to the table as possible that we can. And yeah. We’re just trying to encourage everyone to come and talk cause you know, your lived experience is valid. Like we want to hear about it
To learn more about ROAR, sign up for its newsletter or to suggest an event. Find the organization on Facebook or Instagram or online at celebratinghealthycommunities.org slash roar coalition. Thanks for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I’m Wendy Graham Settle.