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  • Lani Hansen

Echota Behavioral Health Sets Up Cave Springs Drug Prevention

BY LANI HANSEN

SENIOR REPORTER


In-school suspension students take a break from the classroom to visit the UKB.



Cave Springs High School peer mentor Jessica Olvera holds fish caught during a recent trip by Cave Springs students to the United Keetoowah Band complex in Tahlequah. Echota Behavioral Health is working on a drug prevention prevention program at the school. SHAYLEY FOURKILLER/GIDUWA CHEROKEE NEWS

TAHLEQUAH – Students from Cave Springs High School who were in the “in-school suspension” program took a field day to the United Keetoowah Band complex for a day of learning and fishing.


Echota Behavioral Health has been working with school bringing the drug prevention education program to its ISS students. The program started when Superintendent CD Thompson and a former teacher who is currently Director of Outreach from Echota Behavioral Health, Jessica Thompson, spoke about what they could do to prevent students from using drugs and taking the wrong path, according to a release sent by Jessica.


“We’ve been going out working with some of the kids in the ISS program who have been in trouble for drugs or other things. We go over the dangers of drugs and finding other things,” Thompson said. “One of our programs is the ‘natural high’ and some of the kids said they liked fishing.”


Thompson visited with Education Director Dr. Leslie Hannah at the complex one day, and he showed her the pond. She had mentioned some of the kids liked fishing, “I asked him if he would be interested in partnering with us and taking the kids fishing? And he said absolutely,” Thompson said.


Cave Springs was able to bring out four students from ISS and the peer mentor who has been working with the students also.


“It was nice giving student’s opportunities that they wouldn’t normally have, we got to watch a kid catch a fish that has never been fishing,” CD stated about the program.


On their visit at the UKB complex, the students got to meet with people who worked for the tribe such as the Education Department and Tribal Lighthorse. They also got to learn about the culture and history of the tribe by visiting the John Hair Cultural Center and Keetoowah Museum.


The drug prevention program just started at Cave Springs this past spring semester. According to Thompson’s research, the program emphasizes the importance of setting a good example, of working with influencers to change the negative culture, and finding their natural high or passion.


“Students are more likely to abstain from drugs and alcohol when they discover their actual passions,” she stated. “Those pursuits that inspire, uplift, and motivate them and are encouraged to pursue them by their friends, family, school, and community.”


The program is to help students be positively involved in the conversation about substance usage and guided toward what motivates them rather than just being punished and discouraged. With the goal of inspiring students, Thompson said they use the Natural High stories/videos (from their website) that empower students to discover their own "natural highs" and provide them with the tools they need to live fulfilling lives.


Thompson plans to continue bringing the program to Cave Springs.


For more information contact, Dr. Jessica Thompson at jessica.thompson@echota.org or visit https://www.echotabehavioralhealth.com/. Echota Behavioral Health has three locations: 16414 W. 760 Road in Tahlequah, 2727 E. Admiral Place in Tulsa and 282 S Hwy 10 in Kansas, Oklahoma.

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