ST. GEORGE — Members of the Washington County Youth Coalition returned home Saturday from the Community of Anti-Drug Coalitions of America conference in the District of Columbia. Coalition members then headed to the Utah Capital this week to educate policymakers on the effects of tobacco and e-cigarettes on local youth.
WCYC members joined over 350 youth from around the state as they met state legislators to discuss increasing drug-use rates among young people in southwest Utah. One topic of concern was the 300 percent increase in e-cigarettes use among teens over the past two years in some local communities.
The WCYC was excited to share what they had learned in Washington, according to the coalition’s news release, and hopes that policymakers will use the information they presented to prioritize preventive legislation on the state level.
Coalition President Abigail Dickie spoke alongside Rep. Kraig Powell at a press conference held on the Capitol Hill Rotunda Feb. 17. She was joined by Natalie Grisier, Megan Band, Maddie Gates, Katie Powell, Gracie Haslem, Ashley Bang, Brianna Bloxham, Hannah Curtis, Madison Baxter, Brenda Brown, Emma Dickson, Dallen Moody, Darby Wagner, Tristan Craig, August Wood, Taylor Armstrong, Matt Jensen, Caleb Larson, Danny Porras, and Nolan Porras.
Adult coordinators Kaysha Price with the Southwest Utah Public Health Department and Teresa Willie of Southwest Behavioral Health Center accompanied the youth.
“The Washington County Youth Coalition has become a driving force for policy change, with regard to tobacco and underage alcohol use,” Willie said. “For the past several years, the coalition has met annually with local and federal legislators to advocate for policies that promote substance abuse prevention. We are so proud of the passion, knowledge and commitment of these young people, to create a safer environment for their peers, both now and for the future.”