Council unanimously supports substance abuse prevention program in MCHS |

Council unanimously supports substance abuse prevention program in MCHS

The council chambers at Craig City Hall.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press
Tony Bohrer

Over the past few years, Moffat County High School students have participated in an anti-bullying program called If You Really Knew Me. Every Monday, groups go to the Boys & Girls Club and participate in games and activities to get to know each other while also learning about mutual respect and the negative effects of bullying.

In an effort to expand the program into other aspects that affect the lives of Moffat County students, Tony Bohrer is looking to provide substance abuse prevention and education seminars to students, as well.

“We talk about different things like depression, anxiety, what does depression lead to — most of those types of things,” Bohrer said in a presentation to Craig City Council Tuesday. “Most of the time, those things lead into substance abuse of some sort. Statistically, you can find kids that are bullies, and they struggle at a higher rate with substance abuse. Kids that are being bullied, there’s a higher rate, too. It’s like a lose-lose.”

Bohrer, who is a local pastor and also a Moffat County commissioner, is planning on bringing motivational speaker Darin Sargent to speak to students in January to start the weeks of programming. On Jan. 31, the group will take 50 students each week over the successive four weeks.

“He’s going to talk about the simplest things, from depression to anxiety to just smoking a cigarette in high school to using drugs, and then also talk about that bullying aspect to launch this thing,” Bohrer said to the council. “And then we will start that next week with our If You Really Knew Me program at the high school.”

There was previously $25,000 budgeted for substance abuse education, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the programming was suspended. Bohrer said that he also hopes to be able to expand “If You Really Knew Me” to the middle school, as well, but that will depend on budgeting and more communication with middle school administrators. In total, he estimated that it’ll cost approximately $15,000 for programming at just the high school and $20,000 total if it were to include the middle school.

That money goes toward the speaker and the expenses of travel, t-shirts for all of the students who attend, lunch for students and other program costs. Funding from the current If You Really Knew Me days comes from local businesses.

“If we don’t make that (budget), I’ll go to businesses and ask again, for whatever they can give,” Bohrer said. “I just felt like over the last six years, that’s all I’ve done. When the City Council put (the $25,000 for substance abuse education) to the side, we haven’t used it for two years, because there have been no programs to actually need it or want it. I thought this would be an opportunity to come. I was going to do it last year, but with COVID, we didn’t get to have that anyway.”

Bohrer said he has already seen the large impact that this program brings when it comes to the mental health and wellbeing of students. For many, If You Really Knew Me day is the first time they open up about struggles they’re facing outside of the classroom.

“It’s a very emotional day,” he said. “That’s why we have the counselors there, because afterwards, they’re coming to talk to students that have not spoken about anything — substance abuse, depression. Whatever it is, they haven’t talked about it ever.”

Council unanimously passed an expression of support for Bohrer’s plan and is now waiting to see and consider an exact dollar amount he needs to fund it.

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