Anderson County, TN, February 2023 – Students involved in ASAP of Anderson’s Youth Ambassador Coalition (YAC) recently traveled to Nashville to speak with legislators about drug prevention. YAC is a group of students from Anderson County, Clinton, and Oak Ridge High Schools who work diligently to prevent and reduce substance misuse in their community. ASAP of Anderson also partnered with Metro Drug Coalition in Knoxville to take high schoolers from across the county to meet with Representative Ragan and Lt. Gov. McNally.

While in Nashville, students advocated for the following:

1. Adding restrictions to Delta-8 – Ambassadors advocated for restrictions on Delta-8, including banning cartoon characters on packaging and requiring a 21 and up age restriction for Delta-8. They reminded representatives that the National Poison Control reports that 77% of unintentional exposures on affected pediatric patients are younger than 18.

2. Funding for opioid alternatives – Ambassadors educated legislators about the benefits of alternatives to opioids for Medicare patients, including chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy, and local anesthetics. Turning to these alternatives provides a 66.5% cost savings to taxpayers when no opioids are prescribed to treat acute pain.

3. More prevention education in schools – Ambassadors spoke with Ragan and Lt. Gov. McNally about implementing more education about substance misuse prevention in local schools. Currently, ASAP provides free education about alcohol, stimulant, marijuana, and nicotine prevention in all three high schools in Anderson County.

In January, YAC members traveled to Washington, D.C. to engage with federal legislators. They educated Congressman Fleischmann, Senator Blackburn, and Senator Hagerty about the proposed Delta-8 restrictions, swapping out opioids for safer alternatives for Medicare patients, and prevention education.

High school students in Anderson County who are interested in joining YAC are encouraged to apply online at www.asapofanderson.org/youth-ambassador-coalition/ or contact Jarod Ormsby by emailing Jarod@ASAPofAnderson.org. To stay up to date about other exciting news involving ASAP, follow @ASAPofAnderson on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

YAC Students and ASAP staff meeting with Lt. Gov. McNally in Nashville.

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