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Duneland residents open their eyes to drug problem

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Voice of the People

 

Today, Duneland residents are opening their eyes and seeing the light at last. The drug problem has surfaced and must be dealt with immediately.

Family members, friends, and acquaintances have already died in our community, yet the problem continues to grow.

Having been raised in the Duneland area for the majority of my life I have witnessed the drug problem firsthand. Are there drugs in Chesterton? Of course there are. This, I believe, everyone can agree upon. Where this issue gets controversial is when people start to point fingers blaming this problem on anyone else but themselves, however, this is not the time to blame.

We, as a community, are facing a daunting task. Much work will need to be done and nothing will happen over night. This is a task for the community as a whole—not just the educators, or the parents, but for everyone. Chesterton has a significant advantage over larger cities—we can unite as a whole and be strong against this battle, if we are truly committed to this fight against drugs.

I think there are three main goals this community must start off with: 1. counsel recovering addicts, 2. deal with current addicts, 3. and work on drug prevention.

Counseling an addict does not mean having him or her sit on a therapist’s couch and confess his or her problems. That is not what is required in this situation. What has to be done involves time and patience from all. We must listen with our hearts and try to understand.

The current drug addicts are facing tremendous emotional problems. They do not want to be criticized, but understood. They want help and we must be the ones to offer assistance.

Prevention and education are virtually synonymous. The schools can only do so much. We must all take responsibility on this issue. If not, then the problem will never end.

We must not treat these addicts as outcasts, for they are as intimately attached to Chesterton’s soil as the fine oak trees are down Main Street. The drug problem has been difficult for the addicts and for the addicts‚ family and friends alike. Now is the time for acceptance and understanding.

I am in the Republic of South Africa for six months studying. I visit Chesterton Tribune’s website to get the latest hometown news. But when will I be able to check the website and not see one of my fellow Chesterton residents‚ obituary reading: “Drug overdose?” The time to act is upon us.

I would like to thank everyone who has written in the newspaper telling their stories about the realities of drugs in our community. My heart goes out to them and their families for they have a difficult road ahead.

The Duneland community has played a positive role in my life, as I am sure it has to many others as well. We must not let Duneland’s image tarnish. As Nelson Mandela so eloquently has said “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” When I return to Chesterton I want to find the community I still remember: the community of great solidarity, and the community of great progress.

Adam Carl Blazak

Stellenbosch University

South Africa

 

Posted 3/26/2004