NC program aims to steer youth and families away from the current opioid crisis

MOREHEAD CITY, NC (WNCT) — A program to steer youth and families away from the current opioid crisis returns this year.

The Youth and Family Empowerment Program (EYFP) is a 10-week program hosted by the NC Cooperative Extension in Carteret County. In 2020, Carteret County had 34 people who died of overdoses. This figure comes from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

With “EYFP”, NC Cooperative Extension and its partners aim to give families the tools they need to become resilient.

“We all know a saying that an ounce of prevention is better than cure. But when it comes to this type of issue, it’s, it’s even more valuable than that,” Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck said.

Buck says the opioid crisis has changed over the years.

“We’ve seen a resurgence of heroin from about 2015 until today. And then we’ve also seen the addition of fentanyl into heroin, and now other drugs as well,” Buck said.

He says prevention things like “EYFP” are good for the community.

“Anything that can be done in terms of education and prevention, so we have to try to encourage that and help that resource grow and be available to people as much as possible,” Buck said.

And that is exactly what the program aims to do.

“It helps kids to be able to stand up for themselves and learn some self-esteem, to be able to say no to kids who try to get them to do things they really don’t need to do and know they have. wrong,” said Shawn Banks, county extension manager for NC Cooperative Extension of Carteret County.

They also say that teaching communication in families is essential.

“They need to spend time together, get to know each other and be able to communicate with each other,” Banks said.

Each session begins with a family meal, then kids and adults split up to have their own group sessions. Then they reform into a large family group.

At the end of the 10 week program they have a community event to talk with others about the things they learned.

“No family wanted to repeat it because they had so much fun and learned the skills they needed during this program,” Banks said.

To learn more about this program and all it offers, click here.

Ryan H. Bowman