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Last updateTue, 22 May 2018 12am







    Monday, May 21, 2018-12:55:17A.M.






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Action team discusses strategies to combat substance abuse

THE Blue Ribbon Community Action Team, a group of various government and non-profit entities that aim to address substance-abuse problems, held its second meeting at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. administration building on Thursday.

Team coordinator Frances Sablan, said the members identified key prevention strategies that their agencies or groups will implement.

Sarah Thomas-Nededog, the team chair and vice president of WestCare Foundation, said the discussion also dealt with their commitment to their goals.

Sarah Thomas-NededogSarah Thomas-Nededog

“Do they see themselves working and addressing some of the concerns of the people who are not yet involved in substance abuse? Or do they see themselves as providing intervention like treatment and support? That is what we are doing today — working with these entities in small groups to find out how they can move forward and contribute to this islandwide plan to address substance abuse in the CNMI.”

She said during their first meeting, which took place in May, they identified the scope of substance abuse problems in the CNMI.

“The idea of this [action team] is to mobilize our community to focus on what everyone can do. We are getting to that point as we document and get commitments,” she added.

Thomas-Nederdog said they want people to understand that everyone can be involved in the war against substance abuse.

“That is what we are doing here — formulating a plan so that anybody can pick up that plan and say ‘I know how I could help.’ ”

She said the action team’s mission is to provide leadership and guide the community to move forward in addressing substance-abuse problems.

The team’s other members are representatives of CHCC, the Community Guidance Center, the drug court, WestCare Foundation, the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa and the Office of Personnel Management.

“We are always looking for and open to other entities joining us,” Thomas-Nederdog said.