The Monroe County Coalition for Drug-Free Communities kicked off its February meeting with Waterloo Police Chief Jim Trantham telling about a story of recently busting a young man for heroin-related paraphernalia.
This proved to be the perfect segue into the rest of the meeting, as one of the coalition’s founders, Bill Rebholz, disclosed that the coalition has reached out to the Army National Guard’s counter-drug program.
“The Army is very interested in working with coalitions,” he said. “They have the ability to reach out to communities and work with anybody who is sustaining an anti-drug coalition. We fit them to a T.”
He said efforts like these could help with initiatives down the road that may require funding.
Rebholz also announced the formation of a steering committee that will meet twice a month and the development of bylaws and data analysis.
The steering committee will meet Feb. 18 to figure out the coalition’s official bylaws.
“They will address things like what constitutes a quorum, how frequently we meet, etc.,” he said. “There should be rules of the road as we move forward, and we’ll need them for when we file with the state.”
Kelton Davis, Regional Superintendent of Schools, gave a presentation on school data-gathering.
He has sent out an email to local schools asking for their helping hand in gathering this data via the Illinois Youth Survey, which is typically administered every other year.
“Drug abuse is not isolated within a certain segment of the community but is prevalent across demographics and socio- economic levels,” he said in the email. “As both counties are beginning to work toward solutions to the epidemic problem that include policy changes and educational interventions, the Regional Office is requesting support from schools in helping to address these problems.”
Davis said they would have the data by May or June and could start assessing it from there.
Monroe County Coroner Vicki Koerber also reminded the coalition about the community forum on prescription drug abuse and heroin, which was scheduled to take place Feb. 4, but is rescheduled for Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at Hope Christian Church in Columbia because of the weather.