Grand Futures promotes substance-free lifestyle to local teens | CraigDailyPress.com
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Grand Futures promotes substance-free lifestyle to local teens

The members of Grand Futures Prevention Coalition's Teen Council assemble. Grand Futures works to educate children in the area about the dangers of substance abuse, and the Teen Council works with the organization to find activities that will be a better alternative to drugs, alcohol and other materials.
Andy Bockelman

— For more information on Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, call 970-824-5752 or visit grandfutures.org.

Healthy Kids Colorado Survey results

The following data was collected from Moffat County teens about their experience with substance abuse and related activities.

2009-10

Action — Percentage of students who admitted to participating

Binge-drinking — 32

Smoking — 25

Chewing tobacco — 25

Marijuana use — 22

Prescription pill misuse — 29

Driving under the influence — 14

2012-13

Action — Percentage of students who admitted to participating

Binge-drinking — 23

Smoking — 15

Chewing tobacco — 10

Marijuana use — 16

Prescription pill misuse — 20

Driving under the influence — 5

— For more information on Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, call 970-824-5752 or visit grandfutures.org.

Healthy Kids Colorado Survey results

The following data was collected from Moffat County teens about their experience with substance abuse and related activities.



2009-10

Action — Percentage of students who admitted to participating



Binge-drinking — 32

Smoking — 25

Chewing tobacco — 25

Marijuana use — 22

Prescription pill misuse — 29

Driving under the influence — 14

2012-13

Action — Percentage of students who admitted to participating

Binge-drinking — 23

Smoking — 15

Chewing tobacco — 10

Marijuana use — 16

Prescription pill misuse — 20

Driving under the influence — 5

Growing up in a small town can often instill boredom in young people, and this lack of activities can likewise lead to drug use among teens. That’s something the organization Grand Futures Prevention Coalition hopes to alleviate.

Grand Futures focuses on combating substance abuse in the youth of Northwest Colorado by providing alternatives to and education about using materials that are harmful to their health.

Moffat County Coordinator Desirae Pearcey recently received results from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey given to Moffat County High School students during the 2012-13 school year and was very pleased with the data compared to the 2009-10 school year, which is when the questions were last administered.

The four-year differential showed a decrease in each of the six substance abuse-related topics asked of students, which included binge-drinking, smoking, chewing tobacco, marijuana use, prescription pill misuse and driving under the influence.

For instance, only 10 percent of MCHS students admitted to using chew in the new statistics, a drop from the 25 percent in 2009-10.

Because the surveys are anonymous, there’s no concrete way to track if students who were engaging in drug use as freshmen have changed their ways as seniors or if the teens who filled them out were being entirely truthful, but Pearcey said she believes the numbers show a trend toward a social norm that includes less behavior centered on using drugs, alcohol and other substances.

The smallest decrease had to do with marijuana usage. Developments in Colorado law regarding marijuana use have also spread “mixed messages” to kids, she said.

“I think one of the most important things for me is to show the detriments of marijuana use for teens, especially with brain development,” she said. “If it’s legalized, it makes kids think it doesn’t have a negative effect. I’ve already seen teens who perceive it like that.”

Pearcey, who started in her position in September 2013, said within the coming months she’d like to be able to present studies with brain scans of long-term pot users so teens understand there can be consequences to all types of such behaviors.

Another project that has Pearcey’s attention at the moment is the newly formed Teen Council, which she assembled as a way to “give young people a voice.”

The council has already started offering and planning activities for their peers and the community at large that promote family togetherness, healthy living or just something fun to do that doesn’t involve drugs. This includes small events, like a recent Valentine’s Day movie night, or projects of a larger scale, like bringing a new skate park to Craig.

MCHS junior Calden Scranton said he isn’t sure how to address such issues on his own, but the variety of kids involved in Teen Council helps get a better idea of what the youth of the area needs.

“I think it’s a unifying between kids in public school, home school and kids who go to GOAL Academy,” he said. “We’re all really separate in what we do, but it lets us all get involved.”

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.


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