VP Biden draws attention to substance abuse epidemic

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PUEBLO, Colo. — A recent state health department data revealed that there is an epidemic within the pandemic and its substance abuse and drug addiction.

Former Vice President Joe Biden brought attention to the issue on a national stage during the first presidential debate Tuesday night, intentionally or not.

Crossroads helps people in southern Colorado with it all – prevention to intervention to treatment and recovery.

Biden mentioned that his son, Hunter Biden who suffered from an addiction, and with the help of family and treatment and time Hunter was able to overcome his addiction.

In the chaos of the conversation, organizations are trying to bring awareness to the fact that
about 20 million Americans are battling addiction.

“My son like a lot of people, like a lot of people I know at home, had a drug problem, he’s overtaken it, he’s fixed it, he’s worked on it and I’m proud of him,” former Vice President Joe Biden said.

This message hits home for millions of Americans.

A spokesperson for Crossroads Turning Points said Biden’s message is important showing substance abuse has no barriers.

“To have somebody who’s running for president of the united states saying hey this happens to all families, it’s not a moral shortcoming,” said Rob Archuleta. “It makes it ok for people to share their story, and it makes it ok for people to say ‘hey I didn’t do anything wrong as a parent’.”

During COVID-19, Crossroads continues to help those in need.

“A lot of those people who has AA, other support groups or the gym, or doing treatment like this, some of those people have lost their support, they didn’t stop, just because COVID hit– it appears nobody struggling in addiction said ‘whoa COVID happened I better stop using meth’,” said Archuleta.

The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) just renewed grants for Crossroads and other organizations to bring prevention to schools.

The OBH awarded nearly $4.3 million in grants to fund 26 prevention programs that serve Colorado youth and families, some received OBH funds for the first time.   

“We want to get these kids before they need treatment,” said Archuleta.

He said their programs inside District 60 and 70 schools are essential for teens.

“As cool as zoom is, that face to face with the kids and being able to capture their attention is really valuable. We know 100 percent of what we do has an impact,” Archuleta said.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 19.7 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2017.

“Prevention programs are a powerful way to combat substance use because they build and strengthen support systems for Coloradans,” Director of OBH Robert Werthwein said. “We know early and proactive intervention can help Colorado families become more resilient to stressors in their lives, especially during these challenging times.” 

Evidence-Based Programs and Policies

Crossroads Turning Points, Pueblo
Award Amount: $200,000 per year for five years
Intended Project: Implement Botvin Lifeskills and Project Towards No Drug Abuse youth and prosocial alternative activities

Under-Resourced High-Needs Programs

Fremont County 
Award Amount: $200,000 per year for five years
Intended Project: Partner with local nonprofits to implement evidence-based programming to youth

Teller County 
Award Amount: $170,000 per year for five years
Intended Project: Implement Keepin’ it REALMedia Ready and Project Towards No Drug Abuse programming

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