Alliance of Southwest Missouri aims to prevent substance abuse with new take on event

This year's "SudStock" will be Saturday June 25th at the Carthage Municipal Park Fairgrounds. 

CARTHAGE, Mo.–Over 100,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2021, more than any other year.

“During the pandemic. mental health declined and substance misuse increased. So it’s more and more important for us to get that messaging out and to show them there are other ways to have fun and to deal with life’s stress rather than turning to substances,” said Jen Black, Executive Director of the Alliance of Southwest Missouri. 

It’s an issue that the non-profit doesn’t take lightly. Every year, they host an event called “MudStock”, where kids would play in piles of mud, and learn about living a drug free life.

This is the first year since the pandemic they’re coming back, and Black says they decided to switch things up.

“It’s going to be “SudStock” and so rather than pits of mud, we’ll have lots of foam cannons and slip and slides and lots of very fun active activities, like mud stock just with a new spin on it.”

The change is in part due to difficulties that came from hosting the original event.

“We’ve changed it up because it was becoming more and more difficult to find property to host MudStock, because we were asking to come in and dig pits and create ditches and all in somebody else’s property.”

The suds in this year’s SudStock wouldn’t be possible without people like Caleb Stiles, food service and facilities director for the Carthage YMCA. 

“I came up with a few of the ideas to convert from mud to suds where I went out and found foam daddy cannons that we’re going to use to produce the foam for the event,” Stiles said.

Stiles has helped with events like “Food Truck Fridays” in the past, and says he wants to contribute to more events that will benefit the Carthage community, especially the town’s youth. 

“It’s just about coming out and getting out as a community again since we’ve all been stuck up and away and doing our own little things for the past two years…so the more we can provide avenues for people to get their houses and exercise substance abuse awareness in a community,” Stiles said.

Despite the name change, the event has the same strong message for area youth.

“It still is very much the theme of being clean and staying clean,” said Black.

This year’s “SudStock” will be Saturday June 25th at the Carthage Municipal Park Fairgrounds.