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Community training tackles meth

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By Bryan Marshall

A lack of knowledge and an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness.

Those are the two biggest obstacles facing communities trying to reduce methamphetamine use and manufacturing, according to Terry Stinson, prevention specialist for RiverValley Behavioral Health Regional Prevention Center in Owensboro.

“A community can overcome these obstacles by understanding that there are solutions to addressing methamphetamines,” he said. “This can be done when community members are willing to make a stand on this issue. That is done through awareness on all areas of methamphetamine issues from manufacturing, use and treatment, to prevention strategies presently used by communities across Kentucky and the nation that work.”

Stinson is a consultant and community trainer with the Methamphetamine Prevention Enhancement Site (MPES), created in 2009 to assist communities across Kentucky in using the latest evidence-based knowledge for meth prevention programs, practices and policies.

Along with MPES manager Gary Hall, Stinson presents a program called “The Ice That Burns: Community Strategies for Combating Methamphetamine.”

The program will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 14 at the Grant County Extension Office.

“The target audience for Grant County is EVERYONE,” Stinson said. “Methamphetamine is not just a law enforcement, treatment or environmental problem, it affects everyone and it is going to take the whole community to address it.”

Strategies that will be taught include placing barriers on precursors used to make meth, making local businesses aware that some of their products can used to make meth, how community members can report to law enforcement suspected meth labs anonymously and what key groups in a community need to be targeted to give meth awareness trainings to.

While at least six meth labs were located in 2010 in Grant County, Stinson said the numbers alone do not truly show whether or not there is a large meth problem.

It is important to look at other factors, including the number of those seeking treatment for meth abuse and local law enforcement and community input.

“Only 20 percent of the methamphetamine in this country is manufactured in these labs,” Stinson said. “The other 80 percent is imported in from Mexico and other countries.”

The key for the success of “The Ice That Burns” presentation is how each community acts upon the information they learn, said Stinson.

“If a community does not understand all the challenges it faces from methamphetamine, that community becomes complacent with issues and may feel a sense of hopelessness when trying to deal with the meth problems it may have,” he said.

To register for the program, call the NorthKey Regional Prevention Center at 859-283-0952 Ext 110 no later than April 7. Registration costs $10 and includes lunch.