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Sunday, January 21, 2018

New specialist in town to help fight addiction

Dear editor,

As the Dawson County Prevention Specialist at District II Alcohol and Drug, I would like to introduce myself to the community. Recently retiring with over 29 years of service in law enforcement here in Glendive, I have seen firsthand the damages alcohol and drugs have caused to individuals and families within our community.

Social media has recently been abuzz with images of caregivers who have overdosed, while caring for very small children. National news stations have broadcast a YouTube video of a young mother overdosed in Massachusetts in an aisle of a store with her toddler daughter frantically trying to wake her. In Ohio, there is a photo of a toddler boy sitting in the back seat of a car and his grandmother and her boyfriend both slumped over in the front seats from overdoses. It is deeply disturbing to view. Unfortunately, these images are not staged. You can also see throughout local and national news deaths of people under the age of 21 from alcohol poisoning, drinking and driving, and other deaths caused by poor actions due to intoxication.

Despite these grim images, there are reasons to be optimistic. The simple answer to this growing problem is prevention. We as a community can work with due diligence to prevent addictions. We can do this by educating caregivers and the youth in this community about the dangers and consequences of alcohol and drug use at a young age. In 2016, Dawson County High School seniors were asked the question “In your lifetime, on how many occasions have you had alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, or hard liquor) to drink –– more than just a few sips”. Alarmingly, 76.9% answered they had. (Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services 2016 Montana Prevention Needs Assessment Survey)

District II Alcohol and Drug is known as a treatment program. The counselors work tirelessly to help clients reach sobriety. My goal as the Prevention Specialist is to make it known that District II Alcohol and Drug is also a prevention resource. Please feel free to contact me at (406) 377-5942 if I can help in any way to educate or collaborate to help spread the message of the dangers of underage drinking and drug use.

 

Paula Marx

Prevention Specialist

District II Alcohol and Drug

 

 

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