Community Health Fair to kick off Red Ribbon Month

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— Tuesday will mark the kickoff of Red Ribbon Month, an inaugural collaboration between the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs and Grand Futures Prevention Coalition in an effort to spread awareness on prescription drug abuse prevention and establishing healthy lifestyles.

Red Ribbon Month Events

Community Health Night

■ Tuesday: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

■ Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Steamboat Springs Police Department

Guest speaker

■ Featuring Jonathon Judge, from the Colorado Meth Project, on Nov. 6 from 4 to 5:15 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs

Community presentation: Life of an Athlete

■ Featuring Olympic coach John Underwood from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 at Steamboat Springs High School. Free admission.

With the help of a $60,000 state grant from the Attorney General’s office, the Boys & Girls Club in Steamboat Springs and Craig launched a three-year, drug-free and healthy lifestyle awareness program.

The kickoff event is a Community Health Fair at the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat on Tuesday with featured guests, including a doctor, a nutritionist, a local Olympian, a drug-prevention expert and a personal trainer. The event, which is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., was designed with younger generation students in mind.

“It’s a really fun event that makes this a little more accessible to kids,” Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Dana Duran said. “Rather than being an adult talking over their heads, it’s about making smart choices, making a healthy life and avoiding that risky behavior.”

Club Marketing and Development Director Lynna Broyles called Tuesday’s Health Fair a holistic approach, with a primary feature being drug prevention. The event is entitled “A Healthy Life is MY Choice.”

The fair is just one of four events during the next three weeks all geared toward spreading drug abuse prevention and healthy lifestyle promotion via multiple platforms.

Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, where anyone can bring unused over-the-counter prescription medications to the Steamboat Springs Police Department. On Nov. 6, the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat will host guest speaker Jonathon Judge, from the Colorado Meth Project. And on Nov. 11, Olympic coach John Underwood will hold a community presentation about the life of an athlete, and how drugs affect the brain, body and athletic performance. The event is free and will be held at the high school.

The $60,000 grant — split between the clubs in Steamboat and Craig — comes with a requirement that at least four community involvement events be held for each of the three years, Broyles said. The grant also launched an Internet safety initiative for kids at the clubs.

Program coordinators and guest presenters are hoping that the events will make an impact on some of the stark results from last year’s Healthy Kids Colorado survey and other surveys administered during the past few years.

The Healthy Kids Colorado survey found that 83 percent of Routt County high school students never have abused prescription drugs in their lifetime. However, yearly deaths from drug-related poisoning increased from 351 in year 2000 to 838 in 2011.

Colorado also has the second-worst rate of pain pill abuse in the country, according to one 2011 national survey. Also, a 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that the percentage of Colorado 12th-graders using prescription drugs without doctor consent in their lifetime was higher than the national average.

“I think it’s a little different now than when I was growing up,” Duran said. “There are so many opportunities for kids to get involved in risky behaviors, and we want to give kids a leg up. We want to make sure that kids are capable of having good tools in their toolbox to make healthy choices.”

Duran said they are hoping to conduct at least four community events by June of next year.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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