Partnership in Action for Trinity Health (PATH), a local coalition working to improve the health of Trinity County, hosted a town hall meeting as a call to action to protect our youth on January 26th, 2023. The event was held at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall in Weaverville and was well attended with over 60 participants, including community members and representatives from a variety of local schools, county agencies, law enforcement, and county officials.
Local speakers presented information about how tobacco and opioids affect our local community. Human Response Network (HRN) presented on the dangers that vaping poses to youth as well as the health and environmental impacts of tobacco use in our community. The recent passage of the statewide flavored tobacco ban was highlighted as a positive step to help lessen the risk of youth tobacco addiction, as most youth who use tobacco use flavored products. Also shared, was how smokefree outdoor areas in public community spaces will benefit the community by limiting damaging effects of secondhand smoke and vape and hazardous vape waste, as well as reduce the risk of forest fires.
Trinity County Public Health Branch spoke about the local level of opioid use and rate of fentanyl overdoses in the county and how Narcan can save lives when an overdose occurs. Narcan, or naloxone, is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose and is easy to administer. Narcan is available free to organizations and businesses by calling the Public Health office.
Trinity High School Friday Night Live (FNL) students shared how they are being affected by others vaping on campus including dangerous second hand vape aerosol, witnessing physical and mental health effects of their peers and the drastic administrative measures being taken to limit the vaping on campus to protect the students. FNL has been working on a “Take Back Our Bathrooms” campaign to raise awareness about the issue.
The evening concluded with round table group discussions where participants shared ideas for actions that could be taken to improve the health of our community. Several participants suggested having parents and community members present these issues to the school board and at Board of Supervisors meetings. Suggestions for organizations were to offer more engaging trainings or presentations with youth-led involvement and real-life examples at events such as town halls; to provide increased awareness and information activities through posters, social media and at booths during farmers markets, health fairs, and community events; and to offer mentoring programs with adventurous, alternative, healthy activities. Community participants suggested schools offer mental health services and elective options that would teach healthy coping skills and utilize redirection methods rather than punitive referrals. Suggestions for what we can do as a community included keeping an open and safe space as well as support groups throughout the community for students, teens, and adults with no judgement; and to have open, intergenerational conversations about the issues with family, neighbors and community.
Community members envisioned a tobacco free community as a cleaner environment, less wildfires, healthy local economy with less drug presence impacting businesses, no flavored tobacco products in stores and adults being held responsible for providing products to youth. Community members are healthy and youth are engaged and busy in healthy adventurous activities.
Additionally, various groups hosted informational tables at the event including Trinity County Peer Court, Trinity County Office of Education Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) Program, Trinity County Probation, Redwood Adult and Teen Challenge, HRN, and Public Health. Trinity County Behavioral Health and Trinity High School Friday Night Live displayed a photo documentary of their club’s efforts on campus and in the community.
PATH invites the community to get involved in the coalition as a member or speaker to share their voice in the community. No experience is necessary and free training is available for speaking and presentation skills. For more information contact us.