By Vernon Robison
Moapa Valley Progress
The Nevada Community Prevention Coalition (NCPC) is working to establish a task force in rural northeast Clark County. Laura Oslund, community mentor for the NCPC, made a presentation to the Moapa Valley Town Advisory Board (MVTAB) last month about the ongoing efforts of the coalition in rural areas of Clark County.
Oslund is an administrator of the Nye County coalition which serves Nye, Esmeralda and Lincoln counties. The mission of the Coalition is to engage the community in an effort to prevent and reduce substance abuse and to promote the wellness of the community.
“They (NCPC) recently did a community-wide assessment in these areas,” Oslund said. “They found that rural Clark County is being underserved. As a rural coalition that had been priorly served by Las Vegas, we agreed to mentor the rural Clark County towns so they could have a prevention coalition as well.”
Oslund said that MVTAB member Ann Merkle had been selected as a task force coordinator for the northeast rural communities.
The Nye County coalition started over 10 years ago, Oslund said. She explained that, at that time, people who needed prevention coalition services in the rural areas like Pahrump were being told to come into Las Vegas to receive help.
“That just wasn’t practical,” she said. “Many didn’t have funds or means of transportation to make that trip.”
So the Nye County coalition was started in order to bring the public funding into local programs and initiatives right in Pahrump and other rural areas of Nye County, Oslund said.
“We started out as an advisory group for after school substance abuse prevention programs,” Oslund said. “To date now, we have brought $1.9 million to Ny County for a variety of healthy community initiatives.”
Oslund explained that a lot of peripheral community services can be included in NCPC initiatives. “A lot of people assume that prevention is only dealing with substance abuse,” she said. “But we have a lot of other programs including health and wellness, tobacco cessation, diabetes support, youth and adult work force development, bringing former drug users back into the community to make them functioning members and a lot of other programs to help the community to be as healthy as it can be.”
Oslund said that her first step was to come before the Town Boards to gauge their interest and get buy-in for the idea. Next, she said, she would be holding town hall meetings to find out what the community would like to have done.
“I can’t tell you what you need,” Oslund said. “We need to meet with you, the various agencies, organizations, businesses and government bodies to find out what you want and need here. I’m just here to help you bring resources to your community.”
MVTAB members were supportive of the effort and Oslund said that she would get the word out on next steps in the community.