New Horizons starts underage drinking prevention campaign

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–A part of UnityPoint Health and the Robert Young Center, New Horizons has specialized in chemical dependency (such as drug and alcohol addiction) prevention and treatment services for 35 years. As Prevention Specialist Monica Ryant explained it, “New Horizons Staff are dedicated to improving the quality of life for our clients and their families by addressing chemical dependency issues in a confidential and caring manner through prevention, assessment, and comprehensive outpatient treatment services.”

In response to a survey conducted in partnership with the Muscatine County Impact of Substance Use Task Force this spring, New Horizons identified underaged drinking prevention education as an area to focus on. With the assistance of an integrated provider network grant, New Horizons implemented the What do You Throw Away? campaign to help students think critically about the consequences of underage drinking.

According to Ryant, the What do You Throw Away? campaign features information presented via video, posters and banners, and radio announcements, all designed to get students to contemplate the potential consequences of underaged drinking. Ryant explained: “This campaign shows they could lose important parts of their life. For example, their team spot, their parents’ trust, and even parts of their future and dreams. It demonstrates that underage drinking comes at a cost and hopefully encourages them to ask themselves if the cost is worth it.”

In the comming weeks, Muscatine, West Liberty, and Wilton High Schools will begin using the program with their students. Ryant sees it as a good way to get teens and their families considering and talking about underage drinking while giving them useful information to make conversations less challenging. “It can be a difficult subject for parents and guardians to talk about with their kids, so we are hoping that this campaign will help bridge that gap, making discussion easier,” Ryant emphasized.

By raising awareness about the risks of underage drinking, the What do You Throw Away? campaign will also encourage teens who may have a chemical dependency problem to seek help. Currently, New Horizons offers a variety of services tailored to the needs of teens including adolescent outpatient treatment, as well as a 24-hour crisis line that provides access to a trained counselor. New Horizons has treatment services available for adults as well.

Anyone interested in learning more about New Horizons’ services can contact them at 563-264-9404 Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Those needing more immediate attention may also use the new Horizons crisis line at 563-264-9100, where an operator will refer their call to a trained counselor, who will quickly call them back. In an emergency situation, Ryant directs them to visit the UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine hospital emergency room.

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