Families Address Opioid Misuse in Montgomery County
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Troy, N.C. – Helping parents and youth learn the risks of substance abuse, how to identify warning signs, and adopt skills to resist harmful behavior were the goals for a community event held on July 29 at Sweet Tee Grille. This project was the culmination of the 12-week “Empowering Youth and Families” program offered by North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Montgomery County. Five families who have completed the program planned the event, which included presentations from the Poe Health Education Center, a proclamation from the Town of Troy delivered by Mayor Sherri Allgood, and comments from Sheriff Chris Watkins. After the program, one parent commented “Wow. Things sure have changed since I was a teen. This really opened my eyes to some warning signs. I know things to look for now that I didn’t know before – that’s for sure!” One of our youth participants said, “there are kids at my school who do things every day that teachers don’t know about. There’s a lot of pressure at school. I think what I learned will help me when I go back in a couple weeks”. In addition to the presentations, the community event also provided free pizza and swimming for participants to promote family bonding – which research has proven to be a protective factor for teen substance abuse.
The Montgomery County Health Department, a partner in the EYFP program, provided educational resources and information about the Substance Abuse Task Force they coordinate. For more information about that initiative, please contact Kimberly Burger at (910) 572-1393.
Since January 2018, North Carolina Cooperative Extension of Montgomery County has implemented the Empowering Youth and Families Program, designed to help families learn to communicate better, help youth set and identify life goals, help youth learn resistance skills to reduce risky behaviors, and help combat the rising opioid crisis in the county, state, and nation. Families who have completed this program report feeling more family cohesiveness and improved communication among all members. Youth report being able to see their parents’ perspectives, and adults say they have been able to be more controlled and intentional in their responses to their children.
Our next EYFP series will begin in the fall, and families have already begun registering. For more information about the program, please contact Chrissy Haynes: firstname.lastname@example.org or Rhonda Peters: Rhonda_Peters@ncsu.edu.