Law enforcement takes anti-drug initiative
While federally funded anti-drug programs are nearly phased out, area law enforcement is taking steps toward community awareness and prevention. Local anti-drug efforts now include scientific-based drug education, rather than a general "just say ...
While federally funded anti-drug programs are nearly phased out, area law enforcement is taking steps toward community awareness and prevention.
Local anti-drug efforts now include scientific-based drug education, rather than a general "just say no" approach.
"We try to preach abstinence before we get into the evils of alcohol," said Senior Patrol Officer Ron Van Doorne, who also serves as the school resource officer. "Kids today are a lot smarter. Just say no doesn't work anymore. They want to know why."
Lt. Dave Wallace of the Dickinson Police Department, said science-based drug education is the only program that has been statistically proven effective.
"The other ones, the difference was so negligible that they got out of the Counteract and the D.A.R.E. and things of that nature and stopped the funding for them," Wallace said.
Van Doorne said once federally funded programs were cut, law enforcement adapted and improvised to provide schools with the type of programming needed.
Becky Byzewski, Safe Communities coordinator for Community Action Partnership in Dickinson, attributes the No Child Left Behind Act as a roadblock for anti-drug programs in public schools as teachers have more requirements to fit into the same time frames.
"Nobody wants to fund to do those programs and they don't come free," Byzewski said.
Van Doorne said with programming hours required of teachers, getting into the schools do conduct anti-drug programs "gets tougher every year."
"Dickinson public school system is really proactive in their drug programs," Van Doorne said.
"Gateway" drugs such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana are targeted at a junior high level, where most introductions to drugs begin, Van Doorne said.
On a high school level, anti-drug education touches on personal and social consequences of alcohol use.
Van Doorne said one of the biggest drug issues right now is abuse and distribution of prescription drugs.
Community Action's region eight, comprised of Dunn, Billings, Golden Valley, Stark, Slope, Hettinger, Bowman and Adams Counties, has the second highest binge drinking average in North Dakota, with the state leading the national average, Byzewski said.
"Alcohol is our biggest problem, it always has been," Byzewski said, citing by sixth grade, about 9.8 percent of students have tried alcohol.
In light of a recent accident by a Dickinson teenager who blacked out while driving and huffing, 19.6 percent of those surveyed in region eight use inhalants at least once in his or her lifetime, as compared to a state average of 11.1 percent, Byzewski said.
In a 30-day use period in region eight, 8 percent of those surveyed use inhalants, with the state average sitting at 3.5 percent.
With present area drug issues, a member of local law enforcement will conduct a multi-media, informational presentation on the dangers of drug use and experimentation from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday at the City Hall in Dickinson.
Open to the first 40 members of the public, Officer Nick Gates of the Dickinson Police Department and the Southwest Sakakawea Narcotics Task Force, will present a PowerPoint and examples of drug paraphernalia, according to a press release.
Geared toward parents and their children, Gates will touch on information about seven drug classifications, short and long-term effects of drug use and who to contact with information about drug use.
Those who wish to attend can register by calling Dickinson's City Hall at 456-7744, Monday through Friday.
For parents who cannot attend and wish to share the information with their children, the presentation will be aired on TV channel 19 beginning Nov. 2.
A presentation airing schedule will be posted by mid-afternoon on Monday, Nov. 2, at www.dickinsongov.com .