As a teenager, Marta Michelle Colon’s brother was prescribed opioids following a motorcycle accident. At first relying on them to ease his pain, he quickly began to misuse drugs – which contributed to his death and catalyzed Marta Michelle into action. Devastated by the loss of her brother, Marta launched Be Gutsy, a national awareness campaign aimed at educating the Latinx community about the dangers of misusing opioids. Be Gutsy democratizes the tools to mitigate opioid misuse through local partnerships, mentorship opportunities and healthcare programs. The platform’s people-centric approach tackles Latinx youth’s opioid misuse by building emotional intelligence and social skills. In two years, Be Gutsy directly impacted more than 5,500 young adults and indirectly reached tens of thousands more through health fairs and medical programs. With Marta Michelle at the helm, Be Gutsy is empowering generations to rise above the possibility of prescription misuse and become the leaders of tomorrow.
Being celebrated as a Women of Worth is a validation that we can transform negative experiences into positive impact for others. Becoming a Woman of Worth amplifies my reach to speak openly about how the prescription opioids epidemic is impacting our Latinx community. I feel more empowered to continue developing a central strategy that includes education, access, communication — rather than shame, stigma, punishment, and harm.