JEFFERSON CITY – Every year ACT Missouri works with the Missouri Substance Use Prevention Network to continue to advocate against substance abuse in Missouri. The groups work with legislators who represent different districts to put together a meeting to share ideas and highlight recent community successes in prevention.
Alicia Ozenberger, deputy director for ACT Missouri, emphasized that the message on a day like Prevention Day is for legislators to help fight substance abuse.
“I don’t want to say we get pushed aside because there’s a lot of other issues over at the Capitol that people are vying for. So it’s very important that we come and let people know that this is something they need to focus on especially since it involves our children,” said Ozenberger.
Ozenberger continued that this is not only important for the legislators to be involved with, but it also extends to the kids in the communities being reached.
“It’s helped save lives. We have an opioid problem in Missouri and this is a way to help counteract that,” said Ozenberger.
One group that will be speaking at Wednesday's event is 417 Squad. This group is a student lead prevention group that helps spread the words to local schools to increase awareness of substance abuse prevention amongst kids in the community.
“As students, we can also help prevent such things from happening in our communities that we are part of the community so we can also be future leaders in that us taking action leads to more students taking action and helping out the community,” said Tyler Mercado, student representative of 417 Squad.
Prevention Day has seen tangible results over the 6 years of the annual Prevention Day events added Ozenberger. With it Ozenberger and Mercado say they hope to continue the progress made over the years through Prevention Day.