Rio Arriba County Department Announces New Name


On August 9th, the Annual Rio Arriba County (RAC) DWI Planning Council Meeting took place at the RAC Senior Center in El Rito. In attendance were about 40 guests and members, each from entities throughout the state representing government, law enforcement, non-profit organizations, prevention programs, tribal entities and behavioral health organizations.


Staff presented and described each of the 11 components, which make up the department, along with statistics on prevention and program efforts for the 2013 fiscal year services provided for youth within the five public school districts and communities. One highlight, in particular, was an announcement by program director Louise Sanchez, who stated that the program name has now changed from the RAC DWI Prevention Program to the Rio Arriba County Substance, Treatment, Outreach and Prevention Program (RAC S.T.O.P).


“After years of being known as the DWI Program, we’ve decided to change the name for several reasons,” said Sanchez. “There are so many components that make up our workings. We wanted the public to understand that our program extended to many services beyond just DWI related issues.”


Program services include the DWI Unit, which serves inmate rehabilitation, as well as aftercare counseling services, tracking and monitoring DWI offenders, behavioral health programs, screening, treatment, law enforcement through the Joint Task Force and community outreach services. The department also provides prevention services to public and private schools.


According to Sanchez, hopes are that creating a new name for the program will assist in educating the public about how the department works within communities and how diverse the program really is.


“The employees in this program work within our county in so many ways,” said Sanchez. “Whether it’s our work with inmates, students or adjudicated youth, who are coming out of the court system, statistics and the stories from those who have benefited from our efforts have shown us that we are effective. People in our communities need to know how the County is working to contribute positive reinforcement, education and progressive action so that everyone can benefit.”


For more information about RAC S.T.O.P, please go to www.rio-arriba.org and click on “departments.”


-Erika L. Martinez, 
August 2013