Teen Led Group from Missouri River Area Marches against Meth Use

During the month of September, the Boys & Girls Club of the Missouri River Area in Wagner, South Dakota hosted March Against Meth, an event orchestrated by the Club’s teen-led group known as Native American Youth Standing Strong (NAYSS). The marches held in Marty, Lake Andes, and Wagner for three consecutive weeks were attended by local and tribal law enforcement, tribal, and community leaders such as Tribal Chairman Robert Line Hawk, and the Lake Andes mayor. Additionally, NAYSS members, Boys & Girls Club kids, and local community members were attendance for each march. Many youth and their families came together holding signs with statements such as, “Stop Mething Around,” and “Do the Whip and Nae Nae, Not Meth!”

The significance of this event cannot be underestimated. The use of methamphetamines, commonly referred to as “meth,” has become an epidemic throughout many Native communities in South Dakota. Director of the Ihanktonwan Unit, Jodi Zephier, would often hear stories from Club youth about loved ones battling addiction. It became so frequent that Zephier and her staff knew something needed to be done to address it. This acknowledgement eventually led to the creation of NAYSS, with teen Club members leading the movement. At each of their weekly meetings, the group will brainstorm ideas for community awareness and set goals for achievement. One goal NAYSS envisioned was the March Against Meth for their local area. With such a successful turnout, there is no doubt there will be many more events to come thanks to this dedicated group.

For more information about this event and affects of meth on communities, please visit: The Ihanktonwan Times

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