For teens battling substance abuse, all of this time away from school and support groups can lead them to relapse.
That’s why one Las Vegas-based group is making it a priority to stay connected.
“At the moment I’m struggling with Xanax and alcohol,” Anaily Rodriguez said. “And it was getting pretty bad pretty quickly. I needed some help and I needed to join recovery.”
Anaily is 15 years old and goes to Mission High School. She joined Alternative Peer Group (APG) in November and had only been going to meetings for a short time before everything had to close.
“Getting that taken away, just like that, it drove me insane,” she said.
Kaylyn Vaultrinot leads APG in Las Vegas. She said in-person, they’re used to seeing around 30 teens. Since the shutdown, they’ve stayed connected through Zoom and virtual meetings nightly.
“I think the largest meeting we had was like 37,” Vaultrinot said. “Zoom meetings can kind of get a little bit -zoom meeting, after zoom meeting – it gets monotonous. We lose participation here and there.”
The meetings online still sound the same.
“Sometimes they feel like talking and sharing what’s going on, sometimes they don’t. The meeting just takes its own shape and we allow it to flow that way. Our kids are pretty brave. And they speak up when they need to speak up.”
Rodriguez said without something like this, it would be easy for her to feel isolated and go back to bad habits.
“Being by yourself and trapped in your mind, you can start thinking a lot overthinking, anxiety and you can fall into that relapse phase,” she said.
More than ever, APG wants its teens to know they’re not alone.
“One of the silver linings of this is we’ve been able to connect our kids with other youth from other APGs across the nation,” Vaultrinot said.
Written by Tiana Bohner, reporter FOX5 Vegas.