YouthZone column: YouthZone programming addresses emotional trauma |

YouthZone column: YouthZone programming addresses emotional trauma

Alexander Williard

Discovering that a loved one is struggling with substance use, or abuse, regardless if they’re your child, has the potential to touch everyone involved — not just the addict. Often, the lines of support and enablement blur — understandably of course. No one wants to see someone they care for struggling, especially with something as debilitating, and unfortunately stigmatized, as addiction. For those struggling, taking personal responsibility, no matter the amount of pain or self-reflection necessary, is the only way to maintain a path of healing. For those on the other end, whether you’ve been lied to, stolen from, or are dealing with your own wake of emotions, please embrace that it isn’t your fault.

At YouthZone, we’ve integrated programming to address the core of addiction — emotional trauma — at its roots in early adolescence. By promoting healthy ways to cope with stress, or mental illness, such as talk therapy and drug/alcohol education group sessions, it’s our goal to end addiction in our community’s youth population.

Out of the 550 sampled YouthZone clients, 271 of them, which translates to 49.3 percent of clients, were referred to programming due to a drug or alcohol offense. In nearly half of these cases the client was younger than 16 years of age, which accounts for higher rates of addiction and lowered brain development. On average, thanks to the consistent support shown by our team of dedicated case managers, from intake to discharge, clients reduce their substance use by statistically significant levels in three out of the five categories measured. For those readers who may be questioning whether their child may be using, don’t hesitate to reach out — YouthZone is here to help.

If you would like to learn skills in addressing use — YouthZone, with support from Community Health Initiatives, will be hosting the High in Plain Sight: Drug and Alcohol Awareness Workshop from 8 a.m. to noon Monday, July 23, at Glenwood Springs High School. The presenter, Officer Jermaine Galloway, will discuss trends in youth drug culture and how you can intervene. This event is free, open only to adults, and breakfast will be provided.

Alexander Williard is YouthZone’s Communication Coordinator and a UWBB Vista volunteer.

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