301 W. Franklin Street
Taylorville, IL 62568
CALL 911 FOR EMERGENCY
FROM THE SHERIFF’S DESK VOL 2, #2
By Bruce Kettelkamp
THE CONTINUING PROBLEM – OUR CHILDREN VERSUS DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
This is our annual review of this very important subject. Drug and alcohol problems continue to grow every year for children, making it a more serious and more threatening problem to deal with. Fortunately, many people in a great many organizations are now dealing every day with the questions of drugs and alcohol and how to keep our youngsters from them. The good news is that progress is being made as the plans and efforts of these organizations increase and improve.
The overall problem of the effect of drugs on youngsters can be viewed as two distinct groups of affected children:
1. These are children living with a parent or parents who themselves are suppliers or users of drugs. Parental substance abuse interrupts a child’s normal development, which places these youngsters at higher risk for emotional, physical and mental health problems.
2. In the second group, parents are not the suspected substance abusers. The children are. The parents begin to suspect that their kids are either associating with others who may entice them into the drug culture, or may already be using some of these substances.
An outstanding example of those who are fighting for the children in group 1 can best be told with the story of Lori Moriarty. Ms. Moriarty spent more than 20 years in police work in Colorado, including time as a child abuse investigator. However she gained full understanding of the magnitude, and importance, of the task of rescuing drug-endangered children when she became commander of an undercover drug unit. It led her to what she defines as her “Aha” moment.
Her unit was preparing to raid a meth lab. The team was necessarily attired in protective gear, including self-contained breathing apparatus, for their protection against the harmful effects of the substances there. As they began their work, she saw a sight she would never forget. There, in the midst of her group of heavily protected agents, she saw a 9-month old baby in a diaper.
As she explained in a recent interview, she thought, “What has happened to this child for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week living in this environment? For how long have we been missing other children of substance abusing parents?”
For the remainder of her law-enforcement career, she dedicated herself to solving this problem. After she retired from active duty, she dedicated her life to continuing the effort. She joined the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (National DEC) where she now serves as Vice President of the organization.
She became a foster parent and adopted 2 boys who were living in a drug endangered environment. Her continuing efforts to combat these conditions led to the development of special training programs, educational and awareness programs, and extensive work to develop the inter-agency forces, including law enforcement, social workers, and numerous partners at the federal level, who must work together to rescue these children. Over the last 2 years, National DEC has developed important new initiatives to help state and local efforts throughout the country. Lori Moriarty, and the agency she is dedicated to, are wonderful examples of the type of efforts that are helping in this very difficult, and very important, task.
But the second group listed above represents another aspect of this overall problem that requires a different type of program. The parents are not sellers or users of drugs, but they fear their kids are being drawn into that world.
They may be concerned because of new behavior patterns a child is displaying. Or they may have read troubling articles or reports on teen usage of ecstasy, marijuana, prescription drugs, or meth. Or a new report showing that of those surveyed who admitted to alcohol use; fully 62% have been drinking it since they were 15. The average age of first use is now 14. How does a parent in these situations decide what to do about it? Where can they find the information they need?
There are many places that offer help on dealing with these problems. The local drug abuse, information, and treatment center in Taylorville is Liberty Counseling (217) 287-2550.
An excellent website very much worth reading features an overview article of more than 20 pages of explanation, descriptions, and analysis of the key subject “Preventing Drug Abuse among Children and Adolescents.” Published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. To reach this site, go to www.drugabuse.gov and click on “Related Topics” and then the “Preventing Drug Abuse” link.
The Center on Addiction and the Family deals with many basic topics and you can reach them at www.coaf.org/. At their site you will find some very good links to important subjects. They have an excellent, but not easily found feature which can be accessed as http://www.coaf.org/professionals/behcons.htm. There you’ll be able to see their “professionals” page. One final note, if you need to locate a treatment center that is in some other location, or possibly in another state, this address, http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/TreatmentLocator/faces/quickSearch.jspx will take you to the national location map. Through this site you can find resources virtually anywhere in the USA. The locator is provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
These facilities are just a few of those waiting to help.
This month you will also notice some new data under the Correctional Center heading. We received so much positive feedback on the last article that I thought it would be good to inform the citizens of Christian County just how much work our Corrections Officers do on a daily basis. The new data will include how many prisoner transports we perform monthly as well as the mileage and officer hours that results from these transports. These transports are a critical part of the Correctional Center responsibility and include Out of County Court Appearances, Remands to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Warrants, and Medical Care for prisoners. You will also see a category for Non-Criminal Fingerprint Services, which are also performed by the staff of the Correctional Center, and another for the Average Daily Population. The ADP is the average number of inmates we hold on a daily basis for the reporting month. These are important areas of the Christian County Sheriff’s responsibilities.
Department Activity for the last 5 months: