More than 30 students in the Twin Cities graduated from Hue-MAN’s youth substance abuse training on Friday, June 15. The program was designed to help young people provide peer counseling on substance abuse.
Funded by a grant from the City of Minneapolis, the organization created the training as a way to help those in need. Hue-MAN Partnership’s community engagement liaison, Clarence Jones, said there are many young people dying from substance abuse.
He said Hue-MAN plans to bring youth who are trained through the program to community events as young ambassadors. They would help promote substance abuse training and connect with people their age in their communities.
The four-day Hue-MAN training included sessions on the opioid epidemic and how to use Naloxone, the generic name for Narcan. Maddy Reagan, overdose prevention manager for the Steve Rummler Hope Network, handed out Naloxone kits provided by the network.
At the end of the final day, the students received shirts and framed diplomas that listed the training they had completed. Those students can now take additional training with the Steve Rummler Hope Network to become trainers themselves.
Many of Hue-MAN’s graduates are interested in giving back to their communities using the skills gained from the program.
Charisma Ceant’e learned about this project from a Facebook group run by Princess Titus, an activist and co-founder of Appetite For Change (AFC). She decided to bring her 11- and 12-year-old daughters to the Hue-MAN training.
“They may be a little young, but we all go through things in life,” Ceant’e said. “I think that early education is the key to prevention.”
Initially, Ceant’e was not interested in substance abuse programming. Substance abuse programming and the subject itself are triggering for her, she said. “Drugs have become less pure and more deadly.” This pushed her to join the project and increase intervention in her community.
“It was closer to the plant than whatever this is,” Ceant’e said, referring to the increase in fentanyl-laced drug overdoses. “So, to see babies dying the way they are, it’s just hard to watch.”
Training more young people will decrease the number of overdoses and positively impact the community, said Ceant’e. She plans on doing outreach by training and passing out Naloxone kits.
She believes the way some adults engage with children also needs to be addressed. “Even people with substance abuse disorders should have harm reduction skills and be aware of how they can impact children.
“It’s important that adults also make sure they have Naloxone kits on them,” Ceant’e said. In the past, overdosing meant taking a large quantity of drugs, which signified that the quality of the drugs was good. Now it means something completely different.
“Now, you don’t need to take too much,” Ceant’e said. “You can take a little bit of a very bad thing and die.”