San Miguel County Youth Substance Abuse Summit April 23

April 13, 2021

photo of Linda Palos

Linda Palos

Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands University and the San Miguel Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition present a virtual Spring Community Summit: Exploring Youth Substance Abuse/Misuse in San Miguel County April 23 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Linda Palos, a graduating social work senior at Highlands, is organizing the summit. Another partner organization is the San Miguel County Health Council. To register for the free event, email Palos at You will then receive a Zoom link for the summit.

“The main goals for the summit are to educate the community on youth substance use and misuse, and provide helpful resources and tips for prevention,” Palos said. “Some of the summit topics will include how to talk to youth about substance abuse, how to boost mental health, the high youth rates of substance abuse in our community, and how to increase protective factors while decreasing risk factors.”

The presenters at the summit include:

  • Felix Jaramillo – Evaluator for the San Miguel County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition
  • Chelsea Lucero – Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor from El Centro Family Health
  • Marcus Lucero – San Miguel County DWI Program and New Mexico Juvenile Justice Program
  • Rosalie Martínez – San Miguel County Health Council

Palos said youth will also be invited to the summit through outreach to local high school counselors.

“We will discuss the short-term and long-term effects of youth substance abuse. When I was their age, adults would tell me, ‘Don’t do it, it is bad for you,’ but I never knew why it was bad until I got older. In my opinion, giving information at this age gives youth answers to the question of why not to engage in substance abuse and misuse,” Palos said.

After completing her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Highlands in May 2021, Palos will enter the Highlands Master of Social Work program fall semester 2021. For two years, she has participated in a social work practicum with Desiree Martínez, the prevention coordinator in HU-CARES, the Center for Advocacy, Resources, Education and Support at Highlands.

“My social work education at Highlands has been phenomenal. Desiree Martínez is an exceptional mentor who helped me realize how much I enjoy community outreach in a social work context,” Palos said.

For more information about the April 23 Spring Community Summit: Exploring Youth Substance Abuse/Misuse in San Miguel County, email Palos at