Drugs in Our Community Recap

The information sessions focusing on drug issues in our Manitowoc community drew over 750 people over 6 evenings.  The conversations included suicide, prescription medication abuses, generational abuse issues, crime related problems, incarceration, rehabilitation facilities, prevention programs, alcohol abuse, heroin addiction, drug court and recovery.  There were emotional voices of concern looking for answers and ways to cope with this far-reaching community problem.

People in the community are trying to find strategies to treat drug addiction.   During the 6 weeks, many people asked about drug treatment facilities that would help either themselves or a loved one.  Susan Beattie, founder of “Pathways to a Better Life” shared her story of her daughter’s addiction.  Both Beattie and Lt. Dave Remiker, Metro Drug Unit Officer, spoke of addiction as disease and the need to treat the disease.  Remiker advises that treating addicts like people not criminals is a better strategy than incarceration.

The conversation during the information sessions often turned to the topic of obtaining a drug court in Manitowoc.  A drug court is a strategy that keep addicts away from incarceration and treats the addiction not as a criminal act.  This is a strategy that handles addiction as a problem-solving treatment.  Nonviolent offenders are offered treatment to address the drug addiction that is the underlying cause of the criminal activity.

The conversation on trauma informed care had to be canceled because of scheduling conflicts. But this intervention technique is being discussed and researched throughout the community by a variety of agencies.  A trauma-informed approach to behavior problems stresses that a person’s ability to cope can be the result of chronic conditions such as childhood neglect or domestic violence.  This treatment attempts to find the root cause for the individual and establish a collaborative partnership in therapy.

The collaborative work that organized this series of information sessions will continue with new partners and an increased focus on bringing the elements of trauma-informed care principles to our community.   The goal of the committee reaches beyond providing information and will continue to find answers and solutions that help individuals and families heal from the pain and prevent the spread of the disease of drug addiction.

Committee; Jean Biegun, Katie Wilsman , Phil Duket, Healthiest Manitowoc County, Tracy Geenan, United Way of Manitowoc County, Kelyn Netz, The Crossing, Becky Rice, Marco Services, Heidi Simonar and Cherilyn Stewart, Manitowoc Public Library.