Chesterton Tribune

Editorial: Chesterton takes the lead against drugs: Heroin is here

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Heroin is here. It is cheaper and easier to get than ever before. Our children are at risk of addiction and death.

This was the message at the Chesterton Town Council workshop against drugs Monday.

In Dunelandís war on drugs the Town Council is present for duty.

And so is the Porter Town Council, a majority of which took the trip over the tracks to show their willingness to fight the good fight.

Duneland School officials, for the most part, were AWOL, at least for now.

But this is not the time to point fingers. School officials will have their chance to speak when Chesterton reconvenes the workshop as promised Monday, at a date yet to be determined.

If School Board members prefer not to wait they could open their own meetings to public comment.

What is to be done?

Here are five suggestions.

--Separate the campaign for better drug treatment from the fight to prevent new addicts. The two goals require different, sometimes conflicting, strategies and it will take more than one Duneland organization to make a difference in both areas at the same time.

--Focus on the young. The longer a child waits to try a gateway drug, the less likely that that child will have a lifelong problem.

--Force cooperation between towns, schools and county. Duneland is a polyglot collection of jurisdictions. It is too easy for each governmental unit to blame the others. Citizens of all of them should be putting officials on the spot asking: What are you doing in the community fight to save our children?

--Promote parent accountability. Parents should call parents to compare notes on what teens are doing with their time. Police and schools should use available laws to sanction parents who contribute to delinquency by allowing use of illegal substances -- including the gateway drugs tobacco and alcohol.

--Make the fight permanent. The drug problem will always be with us. To make a difference will require institutions with permanence built into them. Duneland should have its own incorporated anti-drug non-profit coalition. Duneland governments should negotiate the creation of permanent tax-funded anti-drug efforts specific to our community.


Posted 3/23/2004