Vida Del Norte needs com­mu­ni­ty­wide sup­port

The Taos News - - FAVOR Y CONTRA - By John An­thony Or­tega John An­thony Or­tega is a Coun­cil­man Vil­lage of Questa.

It is time that the drug, al­co­hol and crime prob­lems in our com­mu­nity and the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties be ad­dressed. I know there are sev­eral steps to ac­com­plish­ing this, but I be­lieve the first step is preven­tion. I would like to ask and en­cour­age com­mu­ni­ty­wide sup­port for Vida Del Norte, which is a coali­tion that is ad­dress­ing the drug and al­co­hol prob­lem in our com­mu­nity start­ing with the youth.

In 2017 the use of al­co­hol, mar­i­juana and pre­scrip­tion pills was higher among the stu­dents at Questa High School than at the other Taos County Schools as well the at the statewide level. When I read those num­bers, I was shocked as I al­ways knew there was a prob­lem in Questa, but never re­al­ized it was worse in our com­mu­nity than oth­ers.

Through pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures, Vida Del Norte is look­ing to ad­dress these prob­lems among our youth. The youth are our fu­ture, and ad­dress­ing the drug and al­co­hol prob­lems in our com­mu­nity be­gins with them. The mis­sion state­ment of Vida Del Norte is “To unite north­ern Taos County com­mu­ni­ties in pre­vent­ing and de­creas­ing youth sub­stance abuse.”

In 2017, the coali­tion re­ceived a Drug-Free Com­mu­ni­ties Grant, which is fund­ing the coali­tion and a full-time em­ployee, Maria Gon­za­les. The coali­tion is seek­ing com­mu­ni­ty­wide sup­port through 12 sec­tors, in­clud­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment, busi­nesses, ci­ti­zens, the me­dia, law en­force­ment, the faith com­mu­nity and pub­lic health.

The coali­tion also in­cludes a cou­ple of youth mem­bers who at­tend all coali­tion meet­ings. The vil­lage of Questa has al­ready part­nered with Vida Del Norte, al­low­ing the group to have of­fices and meet­ings at the Questa Youth Cen­ter.

I am a mem­ber of this coali­tion, and I would like to en­cour­age all com­mu­nity mem­bers and busi­nesses to sup­port this coali­tion and spread the word about its ef­forts. This is an is­sue that af­fects all mem­bers and ar­eas of our com­mu­nity, and the coali­tion needs com­mu­ni­ty­wide sup­port.

This is a great start, and we hope the fu­ture is look­ing great when it comes to ad­dress­ing this is­sue. I see a bright fu­ture in our youth, and hope­fully, with the ef­forts of this Coali­tion they will have an ad­dic­tion-free and abuse-free life­style. With the ef­forts of the Vida Del Norte Coali­tion, I hope the com­mu­nity will also reap the re­wards of be­ing ad­dic­tion and abuse free.

Thank you all for your sup­port.

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