Emma Marsing, [email protected]
SWEETWATER COUNTY, WYOMING — Shae Haney and Jason Lux, Prevention Specialists for the Sweetwater County Prevention Coalition, recently gave an update to the Rock Springs City Council regarding different programs and accomplishments the coalition has seen and implemented throughout the past year.
The Sweetwater County Prevention Coalition
For a background into what the Prevention Coalition stands by, their mission statement is as follows, “Sweetwater County Prevention Coalition is committed to the enhancement of community safety and health with a primary focus on substance abuse and suicide prevention for Sweetwater County residents.”
The Sweetwater County Prevention Coalition is a group of community members who operate under grant funding to support different prevention strategies for the community. The coalition focuses on five different areas: underage drinking and youth marijuana use, adult overconsumption of alcohol, tobacco use, the usage of opioids as well as all other drugs, and suicide.
Underage Drinking and Marijuana Use
In regards to their first focus area, the coalition uses five tactics to prevent underage drinking and marijuana usage in youth. The first prevention is a program entitled, “Parents Who Host, Lose the Most”. This educational tactic explains the risks in parental guardians providing alcohol for their youth instead of them getting it from an outside source.
Along these lines, the coalition also provides community event toolkits (ID Scanners) for events such as Wyoming’s Big Show, WyWeTalk programs which enhance knowledge regarding why it is important to talk about different circumstances, Botvin Life Skills Training, and the program Operation Parent.
Adult Overconsumption of Alcohol
In preventing adult overconsumption of alcohol, the prevention has implemented TiPs Training, which promotes responsible drinking and pouring protocols, the identification of overconsumption, etc., which is provided to local bars and bartenders across the county. Along those lines, they also promote ReThinking Drinking, which explains the standard drink for an adult and identifies binge drinking and their personal limits. Other tactics include Drink Less for Your Breasts and W.I.S.E, which is a senior program.
To prevent tobacco usage among adults and the youth of the community, the coalition provides youth and adult nicotine cessation groups, Community Nicotine Replacement Therapy, and also work to promote the helplines Wyoming Quit Tobacco and My Life My Quit.
Opioids and Other Narcotics
This year at Wyoming’s Big Show, the coalition gave away over 100 medication lock boxes while also educating on safe storage practices. On the more generalized side, the coalition provides drug deactivation kits for medications that have expired and hosts Drug Take Back Days across the county.
Lux mentioned that within the next year, they will also be offering workplace opioids and other narcotic toolkits as well.
Due to the rate of suicide within Sweetwater County and the state itself. The prevention coalition has established many tactics to prevent suicide from happening. For starters, the coalition provides Certified Intervention Teams training once a year to local law enforcement agencies. They also are beginning to give away gun lock boxes and gun locks.
In terms of their programs, the coalition has established the promotion of Walk the Talk America, Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, Mental Health First Aid Trainings, and Question, Persuade, Refer Training.
Joining the Coalition
The coalition meets every fourth Thursday of the month. This week they will be meeting this upcoming Thursday, September 28, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Get Real Coffee in Green River. Anyone who is interested in joining the coalition is invited to attend.
The Sweetwater Prevention Coalition can also be reached at [email protected] or at (307) 352-6677.