Green River Star -

By Shay Mahana

Southwest Counseling receives grant

Funds will combat suicide, substance abuse


Southwest Counseling Services recently received a $486,458 grant to combat substance abuse and suicide.

During the Sweetwater County commissioners meeting last week, Laura Schmid-Pizzato, a representative of SCS, announced they intend to use the grant funding for a community prevention service.

This service will target specific areas such as underage drinking, adult binge drinking, tobacco, opioids and other drugs and suicide.

With the extra funding, SCS hopes to see a decrease in risk behaviors. Data on these types of behavior is gathered by surveys taken by students in Sweetwater County.

The surveys asks questions regarding tobacco, alcohol and other substance abuse behaviors. Students are required to take the surveys, but are kept anonymous so students feel comfortable enough to answer honestly.

Suicide is also a main target SCS is trying to battle. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in people from ages 15 to 24 and is the tenth leading cause of death in people 25 and up.

With the extra funding, SCS will be able to pay for more programs and services. SCS will also be able to use the money to better their prevention services. SCS also wants to focus on reducing opioid abuse in athletes. When an athlete is injured, they typically start taking opioids for pain management which can lead to addiction.

SCS would also like to provide training, tips and strategies for alcohol retailers. By providing this information, SCS hopes to teach retailers how to prevent binge drinking.

“They do great work,” Wally Johnson, a Sweetwater County Commissioner said in regards to SCS. “They always have everything in order when they come to us, and I have nothing but the greatest respect for them.”


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