Young people in Moffat County to host overdose prevention training as they help drive prevention efforts across Yampa Valley

Partner with youth staff, from left, back row, Merrily Waldron, Erin Miller, Lindsay Kohler, Laurymarie Cruz, Laurie Keogh, and, in front, Cocoa the dog, Mackenzie Mixon, Alexa Dunahoe, Heidi Brown and Shannon Gotchey.
Courtesy photo

A group of local youth will host a Narcan training event next week with hopes of combating opioid abuse in the community. 

From noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 9, Moffat County Youth Action Council and Communities That Care will join forces to host “Don’t let fentanyl cancel the show,” an event that aims to teach youth how to stay safe in a straightforward, nonjudgemental way. 

The event will be free and open to any middle and high school residents in Moffat County who want to learn more about opioid issues and become a part of the solution. 

Mackenzie Mixon, the Moffat County Youth Coordinator for Partners with Youth, said the event was created after a group of young locals expressed interest in learning more about the risks of fentanyl, how they could identify the signs of use or overdose, and how they might be able to help. Mixon added that a lot of the interest in prevention work came about because many of the youth have seen the challenges of substance abuse at home, at school or in social settings. 

Mixon said the training will teach participants how to recognize the signs and deliver Narcan, which is a life-saving medication that can quickly reverse the symptoms of an overdose from fentanyl, heroin and prescription opioid drugs.

Once trained, participants should be able to share the information with parents, teachers, coaches and adults in the community, Mixon said.

Interest in the topic was originally sparked by a young volunteer with CTC, which is a community-based prevention coalition that aims to reduce youth risk behaviors including underaged drinking and substance abuse. 

From there, Moffat County Youth Action Council teamed up to learn more about the topic. Mixon said the group, which currently has 18 members, listened to presentations on fentanyl from Ryan Hampton with the Craig Police Department and Amanda Buckner from the Foundry Treatment Center in Steamboat. 

No registration is required to attend “Don’t let fentanyl cancel the show”, and particpants don’t have to be involved with Moffat County Youth Action Council or Communities that Care to attend. 

Youth services

Moffat County Youth Action Council members come from across the district including GOAL Academy, Craig Middle School and Moffat County High School. Members range from seventh to 11th grade. 

Moffat County Youth Action Council is also working on doing another mural in partnership with Rise Above, which is a statewide prevention organization that has helped complete other youth-led murals in Craig.

The youth council has also been partnering with Bear River Young Life to host Fifth Quarter events, and the groups are hoping to continue the “Thursday Thrills” summer activities with a “Winter Thrills” that would provide youth with safe and positive activities through the winter. 

Mixon said the youth action council started this year with five members, and the numbers have now grown to 18. The group meets from 11 a.m. to noon every Friday at the Yampa Building, 775 Yampa Ave., and has free lunch. 

“(Youth) can join at any time; we don’t have an application,” she said. “We are open to everyone who wants to make a difference, or just wants a positive place to hang out.” 

Moffat County Youth Action Council was previously led by Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, which merged with Partners in Routt County, another youth-serving nonprofit in October. Under the new merger, Partners with Youth has rebranded and expanded the services it will provide within the Yampa Valley. 

Mixon said there are now youth councils in Craig, Hayden, Steamboat and potentially South Routt soon. And the prevention program plans to continue serving Grand, Routt and Moffat counties. Partners, which has always been focused on providing youth mentors, both in the community and in local schools, may also explore adding youth mentoring services in Craig down the road. 

“We are wanting to set up community meetings in Craig to ask community members what they want and what they think youth in the community need,” Mixon said. “Because we understand Moffat and Routt are different communities and we want to make sure programs are tailored to the community here.” 

To learn more or to get involved,

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