There's a new drug-use prevention program aimed at middle schoolers in Pueblo. The new program comes from Botvin LifeSkills, a national organization that focuses on substance abuse prevention. The program will be implemented throughout Pueblo County's School District 70 middle schools this fall.
Katie Davis directs Operations and Health Promotion at the Pueblo City-County Health Department, which is introducing the program in the schools. She says it has a different approach from other curriculums, encouraging youth investment in community, school, and family.
"Really, this program promotes healthy alternatives to risky behavior instead of just teaching about the dangers of drug use," she says.
Rates of drug use, tobacco use, and binge drinking among Pueblo County high school students are all currently higher than the state average, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Davis says there is a spike in these behaviors after students enter high school, so the county hopes to instill skills early, before students leave middle school.
Davis says the new program is partially funded through marijuana retail tax dollars.
A representative from Pueblo District 70 could not be reached for comment.