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Wind River community forum holds workshops that raise awareness on issues related to substance abuse

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Taylar Stagner
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Shoshana Miller shows a group of young forum participants how to fly a drone for media production purposes.

The Wind River Community Forum offers workshops that spread awareness on issues related to substance abuse. Workshops include information about opioid abuse, human trafficking and incorporating ceremony during mental health treatment plans.

Sunny Goggles-Duran is the program director of White Buffalo Recovery. One of the health care providers the forum is partnered with is Fremont County Prevention program and Wind River Cares. She said the pandemic has increased the patients they see.

“With our youth, we definitely saw a really big increase in mental health issues. As a program, at White Buffalo, we really saw a lot more use of substances during that time frame. Social-isolation is not very good for people with addiction problems,” she said.

Goggles-Duran said that around 15 youth participants and about 60 community members and healthcare professionals have been attending breakout sessions.

Shoshana Miller is also with White Buffalo Recovery. She connects interested youth with the equipment and support for media production. She said this gives youth a platform to help others potentially struggling with addiction.

“To have more native voices out there to share our story and not have somebody that is outside of the community come in and make our story for us. So it's pretty much a story that is led by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people,” said Miller

The Wind River Community Forum is sponsored by health care providers all over Fremont County. Another community forum is being planned in the next six months.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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