Rio Grande County has received funding since February 2003 from the Persistent Drunk Driving (PDD) Cash Fund, through the Colorado Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) known today as the Division of Behavioral Health. In receiving this funding, interested key leaders began forming a coalition in March, 2003 to address the serious problem of underage drinking in our county. Due to the high rate of juvenile DUIs and underage drinking related arrests, the Coalition began to address the conditions that allow and promote high-risk underage drinking.
Beginning with the 2004-2005 funding year, the PDD Project Coordinator began working with residents of Mineral County regarding the dangers and risks of drinking and driving. Our funding increased as a result of this collaboration. After invitation to the county to apply for the Strategic Prevention Framework-State Incentive Grant in early 2006, the Rio Grande County Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking became the membership foundation of the Rio Grande Prevention Program representing both counties.
Coalition members consist of representatives of the local and state law enforcement agencies, youth, parents, grandparents, Monte Vista and Del Norte school districts, Rio Grande County Public Health Agency, Monte Vista Kids Connection, High Valley Community Center, San Luis Valley Behavioral Health, Rio Grande County Commissioner, Monte Vista Journal, Calvary Baptist Church, Early Steps for Childhood Success, and CSU Extension. The Coalition’s 25 members provide alcohol and drug prevention information to the community, such as at the health fairs, presentations to organizations, school boards and faculty, and local government, organizes workshops, and collaborates with schools and agencies at special functions such as pre-prom activities, Red Ribbon Week, and during Alcohol Awareness Month. The activities of the coalition are designed as a deterrent to underage drinking and other drugs and to increase the perceived risk of the short term and long term affects of using alcohol and other drugs.
The Rio Grande Prevention Program is committed to reducing underage drinking behaviors, related issues, and positively influencing local social norms. The Coalition meets monthly. If you are interested in becoming a member, a sponsor or would like to assist in individual activities, please contact Jennifer Valadez-Molina, at email@example.com or by phone at (719)657-3352.