CARIBOU – In the past several months hundreds of Aroostook County residents have attended public sessions on alcohol and drug abuse in Maine’s northernmost areas, and the effort continues today with two sessions on methamphetamines.
The 15-year-old Community Alcohol and Drug Education Team has had a growth spurt in the last year as the drug problem has become more public.
Parents and young adults who have seen the pain of drug abuse have come together to heighten awareness of alcohol and drugs, Brenda Felch, assistant superintendent of schools at Caribou, explained Monday.
Today, health care professionals, education professionals, law enforcement people, first responders, parents and youth will hear firsthand information on the growing problem of methamphetamine use.
During a 1-3 p.m. session, Meagan Rice, director of Maine Methwatch, and Richard Roth, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, will discuss the drug, its makings and its effects.
Rice will discuss ways of dealing with the drugs, while Roth will discuss real situations that young people might confront.
At 6:30 p.m. the two will make the same kind of presentation for everyone, including parents and students. Both sessions will be held at the Caribou Performing Arts Center.
“We will be looking at the effects of methamphetamine on children,” Felch said. “There are some children who live in homes where it is being made and for others it may be living in a home where it is being used.”
“These sessions are for everyone, not only people from Caribou,” Christine Hamilton, a school nurse at Caribou, said Monday. “The more people that come the better.
“The evening session is for the general public, and that includes parents and young people,” she said. “The more informed people are, the better it is for everyone.”
Recently, Aroostook County District Attorney Neale Adams said that drug abuse is becoming more prevalent in northern Maine. He said drug abuse is showing up in all sorts of crimes as abusers look to find ways to pay for their habits.
CADET, the Caribou group, has held town meetings on prescription drug abuse. The meetings brought hundreds of people together.
“Many people were awakened,” Hamilton said. “The sessions were also broadcast on community television for people who are homebound.”
She said homebound residents can become victims of drug abusers who are seeking prescription drugs, or stealing to pursue their costly habits.
Hamilton said the continued effort is “continuing education” for the community.