High schoolers look to help fight the opioid crisis | KOB 4
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High schoolers look to help fight the opioid crisis

Morgan Aguilar
April 27, 2018 07:21 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Fighting New Mexico’s opioid crisis is not just up to adults. A new group of high school students in the Albuquerque area is trying to help solve the problem.

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Youth Against Drug Abuse (YADA) first started meeting in October. They have already managed to organize a big event to coincide with National Drug Take-Back Day.

“I know there's a lot of problems that go on,” said Stephanie Colmenero, a junior at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School and president of YADA. “Poverty, maybe the low education we receive, but I know that because drug abuse is also a very concerning problem, I thought if this is one way I can address that, I'm more than willing to help.”

Colmenero says so far, less than 10 students show up to each YADA meeting. She wants to see that grow and hopes the first-ever “Wake Up ABQ Youth Symposium” does the trick.

With help from the New Mexico Joint Counter Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration, YADA organized a fun, educational event to raise awareness about drug abuse and addiction.

“The early part is going to have some breakout sessions for education on prevention efforts and what to do, how to talk to your youth, how to talk to your family,” said Dakota Varkony, Airman First Class and Civil Operator for the task force.

Varkony says the National Guard is hosting the event, and as part of the task force, they’ve been helping reach out to organizations that may be able to sponsor YADA in the future.

“Really just networking with them and trying to get the ball rolling on YADA to have their own fiscal sponsor and be able to make changes within the community on their own,” said Varkony.

Jacob Prieto with the Drug Enforcement Administration says it’s important to spread their message to youth who have the power to change the next generation.

“As an adult, we always think we know the best, but we have to look to our youth because they have the new ideas,” said Prieto, a group supervisor with the DEA.

Prieto says they hope families bring their children and get involved to help spread the word about YADA and get more unused drugs out of New Mexico cabinets.

The symposium is on Saturday from 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at the National Guard Armor on Wyoming. They will have food, dancing and family-fun events like a rock wall.

Everyone is encouraged to bring their unused and expired drugs and dispose of them either at the symposium or at one of several locations across the state for National Drug Take-Back Day. Anyone can find the closest location to them by entering their zip code here

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Morgan Aguilar

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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