Council still working to eliminate substance abuse

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Substance abuse is still a problem in Dubois County, so the funding collected through the courts to continue combatting the problem is still needed.

The Dubois County Substance Abuse Council talked to the Dubois County Commissioners Tuesday about the work done in 2019 with the money it was allocated.

Deb Capps, chairperson of the substance abuse council, introduced the council’s coordinator, Jenna Bieker to the commissioners.

Bieker talked about some of her goals in the position, such as bringing more light to the problems with parents and other adults allowing children to drink.

“We still have parents who think it’s OK to have all the kids over at their house and, as long as they’re staying overnight, to let them drink,” she said.

Research has been done about how alcohol affects a young brain that is still in its developing stages. It shows that “people who start using between ages 13 and 16 are now older adults who are reacting to situations in a teenage-like way,” Bieker said.

She also wants to address the problem of older teenagers buying vaping products and selling them at a higher cost to younger teens who cannot legally purchase them.

Capps also talked about the council’s second overdose vigil which was held in August at Market Street Park in Huntingburg. There were poster boards on which people could write loved one’s names, and those names were read, she said. About 100 attended.

“It was really well received,” Capps said. “It’s a great forum for people to share their experiences, whether they themselves are or have been a user, or they’ve lost a loved one to substance abuse.”

The council has four categories through which it dispenses funding. Through three of those categories, the council dispenses grants for programs. The fourth category, called discretionary, is for operation expenses like the coordinator’s salary.

Under prevention/education, $5,596.60 was awarded for programs like medication collection advertising, county probation incentive programs and an inflatable lung kit at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center.

Under treatment/intervention, $2,650.15 was awarded for drug screenings and for the hospital’s behavioral health assistance fund.

A total of $12,599 was awarded in grants under criminal justice services. Those included things like drug screens for drug court, drug test kits and mobile radar units.

About $12,000 is left from 2019 funding, Capps said.

The commissioners consented releasing to the council the estimated $30,000 that was collected from offenders in user fees in 2019. The substance abuse council will talk to the Dubois County Council, the group that approves the transfer, next week.




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