Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Local News

SURGE Seeking Members to Address Adolescent Substance Abus

Five years ago, community members concerned that the needs of youth battling substance abuse weren’t being met partnered with the South Central Network of Care to form the Substance Use Resource Guide Entity (SURGE). Now SURGE is seeking new members to join in its vision to “connect young people and their families in The Greater New Haven Area [DCF region 2] to comprehensive substance use resources and supports.”

Victoria Prestileo was invited to join SURGE just one year after it was founded. She currently serves as a co-chair alongside Kara Sepulveda. For nearly 10 years, Prestileo has worked within the Wheeler Clinic in multi-dimensional family therapy, which she explains is an in-home based model that focuses on adolescents that may be at risk or currently using substance. She found that SURGE echoed the mission of her work.

“Community involvement and support to adolescents and their families is our number-one priority to attempt to reduce stigma associated with substance use, increase support to families in the community, and connect with providers that have the same mission,” said Prestileo.

Members of SURGE meet bi-monthly on the third Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. SURGE members may do presentations associated with the company or program that they work for. The SURGE committee also created a resource guide, which is available @Substanceuseresourceguideentity on Facebook. SURGE also hosts an annual Recovery Fair, which will be run virtually this year in November and December.

“SURGE is a community of members that want to assist other providers or parents with identifying and learning about options for substance using adolescents,” said Prestileo. “The purpose of the work group is to allow members to have a place to discuss barriers or areas of hope in the community around substance use and ways that we can assist one another if needed. The SURGE members are supportive, creative and always willing to provide a helpful hand.”

Now approaching its five-year anniversary, SURGE is seeking new members to join the group to “offer new perspectives, resources, and insights to target and educate our adolescent population and those who work alongside them.” Those interested can email Prestileo at vprestileo@wheelerclinic.org or Sepulveda at ks@qvhd.org.

“Substance use and abuse in young people has the potential to negatively impact school performance, mental health, physical health, legal involvement, relationships, and ability to reach future goals,” said Prestileo. “Barriers such as social attitudes of substance use stigma or acceptance of substance often prevents people from getting the help that they need. Our group promotes collaboration with families and communities, information-sharing among providers, and advocacy for state-level changes.”


Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .

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