Silver City, New Mexico, May 1, 2015: The Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (YSAPC) is basking in the national spotlight after being recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) for the innovative programs generated from community input received at a town hall held in 2014.
SAMSHA highlighted the YSAPC’s town hall as one of its national success stories for engaging youth and communities to discuss underage drinking and creating positive workable solutions.
YSAPC Coordinator, Razanna Robinson-Thomas said, “The town halls were a huge success and taught the Coalition and myself a lot about the community needs heard directly from the youth and adults. The input has encouraged and guided our efforts. Thank you Grant County for showing in large numbers at these meetings and revealing the true problems!”
The YSAPC received funding from SAMSHA for the initial town hall, held in June 2014, which has since spawned two follow-up events in Bayard and Silver City. The town halls were composed of entirely youth panelists whom shared their experiences and fielded community questions. The town hall also initiated the idea of a youth council which is currently forming with representatives from all the County’s middle and high schools, dubbed the Youth Council of Grant County that will be launched this August.
“I feel this was a step in the right direction in order to address the problems of our community,” said Cronn Chavez, a youth panelist at the first town hall and a Silver City native. “It’s important that we look to the source that knows the most about the issue...only my peers and I have the knowledge to say how substance abuse affects us in terms of public health because we experience it on a daily basis.”
The initial town hall focused on the high rate of binge drinking reported by Grant County students in the 2011 Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (YRRS). The YRRS gauges the healthy and not-so-healthy behaviors of middle and high school students across the country.
About 33 percent of Grant County high school students reported binge drinking in the past 30 days, compared to New Mexico avenge of 22 percent. Binge drinking is consuming five or more alcoholic drinks at one time, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Studies have found that youth binge drinking disrupts gene regulation and brain development. Binge drinking also puts youth at -risk for academic failure, physical and sexual assault, and alcoholism in later life.
The YSAPC is composed of 25 service providers and invested community members dedicated to creating an environment that cultivates healthy productive lifestyles through advocacy and policy change that promotes resilient and empowered youth.
For more information on the YSAPC or any of its initiatives call (575) 388-1198 or visit their website at www.facebook.com/YSAPC.
The YSAPC is a program of the Grant County Community Health Council, the Health and Wellness Planning Authority of the Grant County Board of Commissioners, and is supported by Gila Regional Medical Center.
Last Updated on Friday, 01 May 2015 15:45