PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE
According to the National Institutes of Health, more people die from prescription drug overdoses than overdoses of cocaine and heroine combined. Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in the Nation and Custer County is not exempt from the problem.
From Student-Climate Surveys conducted at Challis Jr/Sr High School in 2017, the Coalition learned that students are stealing prescription drugs (opioids such as OxyContin and benzodiazepines such as Xanax) from family members and combining those with alcohol to get high.
The Custer County Coalition is actively addressing the issues of teens AND adults abusing prescription meds.
ALCOHOL ABUSE/UNDERAGE DRINKING
With mini-grants from the Idaho Office of Drug Policy's Be The Parents Campaign AND from the Idaho State Liquor Division, the Coalition has been able to actively and successfully address underage drinking in Custer County. An assembly hosted by the Coalition and the Idaho State Liquor Division, with help from Idaho State Patrol and the Custer County Sheriff's Department, presented a powerful message to area students on the dangers of underage drinking.
Students were able to drive the drunk-driving carts while wearing impaired goggles. Some of the goggles represented impairment from alcohol and others were for drug impairment. Check out April 27, 2017 for a great article on the event.
Botvin LifeSkills continues to be used successfully in Challis Elementary School.
The BEST NEWS is that LifeSkills is the curriculum used for a 2018-2019 School Year Lunch and Learn Program at Challis Junior High School. Challis 7th and 8th graders meet weekly, during lunch and advisory, to share the issues that concern them the most. When the program started, 5 students attended. Now more than 15 attend regularly. One of the things they learn is how to volunteer in their community, as shown in the picture to the left.
Lunch and Learn students have the chance to meet with other Idaho youth during various trainings offered by sister coalitions in Idaho Falls and by Idaho Drug Free Youth.
EDUCATING THE COMMUNITY ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE ISSUES
One of the goals of the Custer County Coalition is to educate the community on the dangers of substance abuse. In conjunction with The Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence,, a family fun event called Making Healthy Choices Isn't Scary, was held in the Challis Elementary School Gym on October 28. Representatives from The Advocates and the Custer County Coalition were on hand to share information with community members while their children were enjoying games and contests monitored by CHS high school students. Over 137 people attended the event.
The Custer County Coalition was able to purchase two drunk-driving carts and 9 impaired driving goggles. The goggles range in intensity from 'slightly buzzed' with a barely .07 Blood Alcohol Level, to extremely drunk, high on prescription meds, etc. Challis area students and adults have learned a great deal from using the carts and the goggles. The use of the carts is so successful the Coalition purchased three more carts and two challenge mats to be used at the elementary school.
In the schools, in the community, the Custer County Coalition is making a difference.