In this week's edition of The Taos News, we're proud to bring you the All Stars special section with stories of top athletes from Taos County's high schools. These are young people who have excelled …
In this week's edition of The Taos News, we're proud to bring you the All Stars special section with stories of top athletes from Taos County's high schools. These are young people who have excelled both on and off the field. Some of them - Faith Powell for one - have overcome extraordinary personal challenges to succeed in their chosen sports and finish school. Their commitment to excellence is an inspiration to us all. We applaud these young people, their coaches and those around them in the community who've helped them reach their goals.
You've done Taos proud.
Call for community action
Today (June 20) from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the community is invited to drop by Bataan Hall on Civic Plaza Drive to share their ideas for preventing drug misuse and abuse.
The Taos Substance Misuse Summit is meant to bring the community together to learn and discuss the ways Taos can tackle the problem. The summit will include conversations with counselors, medical staff and others who work with people suffering through addiction. Breakout sessions will give people time to talk about ideas and actions the community and policy makers can take.
Drug misuse haunts Taos residents as it does many other towns around the state and country.
According to a 2017 substance abuse profile of New Mexico from the state Department of Health, from 2012-2016, Taos County lost 139 people in alcohol-related deaths. "Rio Arriba and Taos counties have high rates among American Indian males and females and Hispanic males," according to the report. More than 100 Taos County residents in the same time period suffered injuries, chronic liver disease and other illnesses related to drinking too much alcohol.
In the same four-year period, another 49 Taos County residents died of drug overdoses. Unintentional overdoses were split almost equally between illegal and prescription drugs. More than 200 residents ended up in the emergency room due to opioid overdoses, putting themselves in danger and straining resources at the hospital.
The root causes of drug misuse, abuse and addiction in Taos County are complex. Low incomes plus the high cost of housing and food, compounded by mental illness or trauma can all lead people to drink too much or take drugs to dull the pain of living. Soon, their bodies and minds become addicted. The drug misuse then leads to broken families and multiple generations all starting down the same dark path.
Still, even if the causes of drug misuse are complex, the community must look for solutions. Doing otherwise would be to give up on our own.
Try to make some time to attend this important summit and share your ideas.
The event is hosted by Taos Alive, Holy Cross Medical Center, Río Grande Alcohol Treatment Program, Golden Willow and Recovery Friendly Taos.
We hope a future summit can be held at a time when people who are unable to break away from their jobs during a weekday can also attend.
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