Some of the participants included multiple branches of law
enforcement including police officers from several communities,
representatives from the Logan County Sheriff’s Office and Illinois
State Police, local fire departments, Logan County State’s Attorney
Jonathan Wright, Logan County Coroner Robert Thomas, Logan County
Probation, as well principals and superintendents from several Logan
County Schools, and other groups and organizations.
The group was there to begin the process of a strategic, 4-Pillar
Plan to address the use of heroin in Logan County. The meeting was
led by Nadia Klekamp, an ATOD member who is also on staff with
Chestnut Health Systems. At the beginning of the meeting, Klekamp
identified the four pillars as Prevention, Treatment, Enforcement,
and Harm reduction. She explained that the focus of this meeting
would be on Prevention.
After hearing from a special guest speaker, an addict in recovery;
and reviewing some local statistics on drug and alcohol abuse,
Klekamp moved on to how to address prevention.
Klekamp explained that there are three classifications of
Primary - stopping it before it starts.
Secondary - reducing use, stopping progression.
Tertiary - harm reduction focus, which will be separate from this
discussion and be highlighted in later discussions.
She said that for the purpose of this group, the first two
classifications would be the primary focus because the third “harm
reduction” would work into the fourth pillar.
In order for the group to be successful, she said a strategic plan
needed to be developed and that measurable outcomes should be
identified. For the plan to have outcomes, she said the group would
first need to determine what prevention programs are already in
place and how well they are working. She explained this would create
the “baseline” for future data. The success or failure of the
program can then be determined based on the shift in data.
To start the process of creating the baseline, Klekamp divided the
room into several small groups. Each group was then accompanied by a
member of the ATOD, and given questions to discuss and answer.
The first question was, “What prevention strategies are we currently
doing that work?”
The second question was, “What prevention strategies are we
currently doing that are not working?”
The third question, “What prevention strategies do you think would
work for our: Community - Parents - Schools?”
When the groups came back to discuss their findings, many grouped
the first two questions together in their statements, and also
talked about some of the hurdles or shortcomings they see. They also
offered some good opinions in response to the third question.
All the groups recognized that the local D.A.R.E. program is a good
tool to aid in drug prevention. However, some thought that the
program was not targeting younger children when it should be. It was
noted that D.A.R.E is a middle school and high school program. But
the 2012 statistic that nine percent of children begin smoking
marijuana at age 13 indicates that perhaps the program should be
starting at the elementary age level rather than junior high school.
[to top of second column]
The Healthy Communities Partnership Substance Free Bowling Party held annually
was mentioned as a fun, family event that promotes having fun without drugs and
alcohol. It was noted that the annual event has grown substantially over the
last few years, even though it did get off to a slow start.
Another group mentioned the Victim Impact Panel. The V.I.P. program is sponsored
by the Healthy Communities Partnership. According to information provided to LDN
in 2014, “the Victim Impact Panel is a program for offenders of driving under
the influence of alcohol or drugs. The panels are a non-confrontational
presentation given by victims of DUI crashes who speak about the impact the DUI
crash has had on their lives. The panel presents an often unheard perspective to
DUI offenders. Judges often include the requirement to attend a VIP as part of a
sentence, in the hopes that offenders will benefit from learning firsthand about
the trauma, physical pain, emotional suffering and devastation, financial loss,
anger and frustration that DUI victims and family members commonly experience.”
It was also mentioned that there is a drug recycling program that permits
parents to safely dispose of unused prescription drugs in their homes, thus
taking away the opportunity for children to “experiment” with drugs through
painkillers, anti-depressants, and other harmful narcotics.
The groups also recognized some areas needed more attention. Mark Miller of the
Lincoln Police Department noted that local firefighters do safety training in
the public schools, but they are not equipped to discuss drug and alcohol abuse.
Another group noted that there are not many opportunities for kids outside of
sports in this area. It was suggested that there needs to be more activities and
places for kids that don’t focus on athletics. It was also suggested that there
needed to be more parent counseling on drug prevention.
Klekamp was asked if parent counseling is part of the treatment program at
Chestnut Health Systems. She said it could be but often depended on how big a
problem was with the child or patient.
State's Attorney Jonathan Wright was asked if parent counseling was required
through the legal system. He said for juvenile cases it often is part of the
Another group noted that drug and alcohol abuse in children may be fed by drug
and alcohol abuse at home. That group felt there was a need for a safe place
where children can go to talk about what is going on at home.
A member of the “His Hands” organization noted that the group now has a
community center across the street from Ray White Park in Lincoln. There are
volunteers there, and children can come and go freely. While there, they have
the opportunity to vent to caring adults about what is going on at home, if they
wish. He said no child is pressured into such discussions, but caring, Christian
adults are there for them if needed.
Angela Stoltzenburg said in response to question number three; her group felt
there needed to be a larger presence of mentoring groups such as Big Brothers
and Big Sisters. Another person noted that the “Girls on the Run” program was
growing locally. That group also promotes good health and a substance-free
Klekamp was well pleased with the responses to the first three questions but
noted that the group was out of time for discussion. She said there were two
more questions that she had hoped to get to, but that would have to wait until
the next meeting.
Those questions were, “What kind of commitment will it take to realistically
address the problem? What additional resources are needed?” and “What barriers
exist to implement these strategies.”
As they prepared to adjourn, the group was reminded that in the packets they
were given at the beginning of the day were pages with various resources listed
that focus on drug and alcohol intervention and treatment. Klekamp said the work
would continue at the next meeting which will be held on Thursday, March 17th.