[Oceanside, CA] Members of the North Coastal Prevention Youth Coalition (NCPYC) presented an annual update to adult coalition members at NCPC’s monthly meeting held July 11, 2019 at Tri-City Medical Center. Highlights included campaigns to increase public awareness of local social host/house party ordinances, conducting community forums, and advocating against commercial marijuana business in North County.
NCPC President Craig Balben presented Gabriel Dorantes with the first annual Youth Honorary Service award for his four years of commitment and dedication to NCPC through the “Be the Resistance Club” (BTR) at Oceanside High School.
Gabriel has been a strong advocate for substance abuse prevention in his community. Since 2015, he has attended and spoken at Oceanside City Council meetings in support of numerous efforts that include the adoption of an ordinance to ban smoking on outdoor restaurant patios; adopting an ordinance to prevent fast food restaurants from selling alcohol; and an ordinance to ban stores from selling spice and synthetic drugs.
He has also been outspoken against allowing commercial marijuana businesses and selling alcohol in movie theaters. To prepare for these advocacy campaigns, Gabriel has also participated in data collection and community outreach. He has gone door to door in neighborhoods, shopping centers, and other venues to get input from the community, as well as conducted youth purchase surveys to monitor tobacco sales to minors.
A video showcasing Gabriel’s involvement is posted on NCPC’s website and the Eastside Neighborhood Association (ENA) awarded Gabriel a $500 check to go toward his education.
Gabriel’s future plans include enlisting in the army and achieving his dream to become a firefighter.
When asked what issues they view as especially troubling for today’s youth, Gabriel and his peers shared that JUULing and wax pens (concentrated THC) are the substances they hear the most about, and even see on campus.
“I’ve seen kids vape in class and the teacher has no idea they’re smoking.”
Teen vaping has increased 900% between 2011-2015, and nearly 1 in 11 U.S. students have used vaping devices for marijuana (JAMA Pediatrics 2018).
As vaping and the expansion of marijuana commercialization continue to increase, NCPC encourages young people to get involved in advocating for healthy choices for their peers and healthy policies in their communities.
NCPC facilitates prevention advocacy clubs at Oceanside, El Camino, and Rancho Buena Vista High Schools, as well as a young adult committee for recent high school graduates interested in prevention. NCPC plans to present an annual Youth Honorary Service Award to recognize young people who contribute significant time and dedication in preventing youth substance use. To learn more information about NCPC’s youth coalition visit http://northcoastalpreventioncoalition.org/programs/youth-coalition-2/.