UVU Substance Use Prevention Coalition convenes for first historical meeting
Reading Time: 2 minutes “College age … is where [drug addiction and misuse] takes off. This is where it either gets really bad really, really quick, or we have the opportunity to steer them in the right direction away from it. We are just here to help,” said Wade Gale, relations manager of Brighton Recovery Center.
On February 15, 2023, Kerri Scott, director of wellness programs, convened UVU’s first Substance Use Prevention Coalition meeting. The objective of the meeting was to explain the purpose of the coalition and give attendees an opportunity to introduce themselves and their ideas for the coalition’s future plans. The meeting was attended by professors, interns, public officials, and advocates of college students’ health.
“Our mission is to decrease substance misuse among the UVU student population and community,” stated Scott. “We will accomplish this by educating them about the harmful effects of tobacco, e-cigarettes, marijuana, and other drugs, and provide resources for those who want to quit.”
The formation of the coalition was a necessity. Scott explained that the Utah County Health Department recently provided UVU Wellness a 50,000 dollar grant entitled “tobacco, e-cigarette, marijuana, and substance abuse prevention” which was provided on the terms that recipients would “form a coalition.”
“In thinking about it [forming a coalition], I thought, ‘I don’t want this to be just one more meeting that everybody has to go to,’” Scott explained. “We all have a lot on our plates, I know I do … but I do feel like it’s a big need.”
In addition to being conditional upon grant acceptance, the formation of the coalition was an urgent requirement. Scott explained that the financial grant was typically delivered at yearly intervals but that UVU was a special case: “We kind of jumped into the grant in the middle of the year. …Normally it is a 12-month grant. Our previous director [Trevor Carter] applied for it. He asked for [$]12,000 and they [Utah County Health Department] came back and said, ‘The minimum we can give is [$]50,000.’ So he had to work with the Health Department and with us and come up with some things we could do to use that [$]50,000 in ways that would actually be useful to students and staff here on campus.”
Scott later mentioned that the coalition formation could be instrumental in suggesting additional methods for grant allocations. She also explained that if the funds were used appropriately, “in the future, we [UVU Wellness] could apply for the grant again.”
Appropriations for the grant are still being determined; however, there are ways for students to get involved. The “2023 UVU Conference on Addiction” will be held on March 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Sorensen Student Center’s grand ballroom. Admission to the conference will be free for students or 98 dollars for the general public, and the conference will feature two high-profile speakers: Tom Arnold (American actor) and Dr. Lipi Roy (clinical assistant professor at NYU Grossman School of Medicine).
Additionally, on March 14 from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the “Collegiate Substance Use Disorder Conference” will be held in the Sorensen Student Center’s Center Stage. Admission to the event will be free, and there will be panel discussions, speakers and food with Nick Goepper (Olympic Skier Medalist). Look to digital signage around campus for details coming soon.
Whether you are passionate about substance use prevention, want to be an advocate for student health or just want to learn more about substance misuse from experts, you are strongly recommended to attend both or either of these upcoming events.