REPORT: ‘PEERSUADERS’ PROGRAM HELPING TO KEEP KIDS OFF DRUGS

REPORT: ‘PEERSUADERS’ PROGRAM HELPING TO KEEP KIDS OFF DRUGS

An evaluation by the New Mexico Department of Health has brought positive reinforcement for a Doña Ana County-based initiative aimed at keeping teens off drugs.
The PeerSuader program, overseen and directed by the county’s South Central Prevention Coalition, targets young people attending alternative high schools who are considered to be at a high risk for drug abuse. The students are offered comprehensive information pertaining to life skills, resiliency, substance abuse and the value of community service. The primary message of the program is that drug abuse can adversely affect a person’s health and future.
The state evaluation concluded that the program, as implemented in Doña Ana County, resulted in fewer cases of drug abuse and teen depression among the 40 teens who participated. The program budget was $125,000. Funding came through the state, but originated with the federal government’s State Incentive Grant.
“Seeing this program work represents a proud moment for our community,” said SCPC Program Coordinator Amy Buchanan. “This report from the state validates the hard work that is being done by county employees to keep area children healthy by lowering incidences of irresponsible teen behavior related to drug and alcohol abuse.”
For more information, call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.