Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

October 8, 2013

The Port to hold Community Drug Awareness Night

By Amanda Browning Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — WESTPORT – Westport Christian Church (The Port) will be holding a Community Drug Awareness Night Thursday, Oct. 10, beginning at 7 p.m., as a way to be proactive regarding the rampant drug-related issues facing the county and the country.

“Drug abuse isn’t just in our community. These issues are facing every community and they need to be discussed,” said Mike Bartlett, minster at The Port. “The best way to deal with the problem is to actually address it and educate the community. Drug abuse isn’t just in Westport or Decatur County, it’s nationwide.”

In an effort to be proactive rather than reactive, elders at The Port decided to hold the Community Drug Awareness Night to educate people and to let them know that they can stand against the influx of drugs into the community. In taking their proactive stance, church elders also wish for youths in the community to know that the Port is a safe place. Having a safe place to go to escape peer pressure from other youths to abuse drugs, or even drug abuse in their own homes, is one step toward building a positive community.

Drug abuse can often lead to spousal abuse, child abuse and many other things that can jeopardize the health of the community, Bartlett said. The Westport Christian Church seeks to help the community work together to fight the spread of drugs and drug abuse by offering support to addicts and their families and educating people.

“What individuals with drug addictions do effects how our community is perceived and received, as well as negatively effecting the overall general health,” Bartlett stated.

According to the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force website, prescription drugs are the most highly abused drug in the country. The website states that one in five Indiana teenagers have admitted to abusing prescription drugs. According to the information provided, there is a death from a prescription drug overdose every 25 minutes.

What makes prescription drugs so dangerous is the fact that the epidemic of abuse is growing across all facets of society. From the corporate executive to the single mother, to the all-star athlete, no age group, race, social class or geographic location is exempt from the danger of prescription drug abuse.

Minister Mike Bartlett is familiar with the dangers of drug abuse and has both a great deal of experience and a deep-seated reason for his desire to help others overcome addictions.

“For 15 years, I was a drug addict. I know what it will do to your family and to society as a whole. I’m very passionate about helping people restore their lives and the community,” Bartlett said.

In addition to discussing prescription drug abuse, the Community Drug Awareness Night will cover methamphetamines and heroin and other types of drugs. Many ingredients and byproducts of manufacturing methamphetamines are extremely toxic. So much so that crews dismantling methamphetamine labs must wear protective gear. An added hazard comes in the portable “one pot” style of manufacturing. After the drug is made, the bottles are often thrown out along the side of the road.

“A few years ago, our church did a community clean-up day. Three times that day, I had to call law enforcement because we found used needles and the remains of a meth lab along the road,” Bartlett said. “It’s an environmental hazard as well as a public safety hazard. I’m very passionate about this.”

There will be representatives from the Indiana State Police, the Westport Police, Community Mental Health Services, and the Department of Children’s Services on hand to offer information about drug abuse, what to look for, and what can be done.

The Indiana State Police will be giving the majority of the presentation. They will share information about the manufacturing of methamphetamines, what to look for to identify it, and what kinds of ingredients go into methamphetamines. State Police officers will also offer information about prescription drug abuse, tipline information and what a concerned citizen can do if they suspect drug trafficking in their area.

The Westport Town Marshall will be on hand to answer questions and show support. By showing solidarity and involvement in the community, citizens can see that the community can work hand in hand to improve the area and stamp out drug abuse.

Representatives from Centerstone and Community Mental Health Services will bring information about treatment options for addicts and what services are available to both addicts and their families.

Representatives from the Department of Children’s Services will share a little bit about their involvement and the role they play when a drug bust occurs with children present.

The program will last a little over an hour, with a question and answer portion at the end. The awareness night is open to anyone and there will be no charge of any kind as the Westport Christian Church simply seeks to provide a service to the community. Participants are asked to bring only an open mind, Bartlett said.

“In any type of abuse situation dealing with addiction, the first step is admitting that there is an issue. For years, people have pretty much turned a blind eye and thought, ‘Oh, it’s not really here,’” Bartlett said. “Not just in our county, but the whole United States. Everyone just wants to put their head in the sand and deny that there is an issue. To fix the problem, we must first admit that there is a problem.”

The Westport Christian Church is located at the corner of Range and Mulberry Streets in Westport. Questions can be directed to The Port at 812-591-3807.

Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004