Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

February 18, 2014

Drug-free coalition eyes goals

At a two-hour planning retreat Feb. 3, Coalition for a Drug-Free Batesville members evaluated their voluntary efforts since the group was loosely formed in late 2011.

Nicole Schiesler, Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati strategies director, led the discussion. First she distributed a handout of seven strategies for community change formulated by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America National Coalition Institute: provide information, enhance skills, provide support, reduce barriers, change consequences, physical design and change policies.

Schiesler asked about CDFB successes so far. Batesville Community School Corp. superintendent Dr. Jim Roberts reported the AlcoholEdu® for High School online program, created by EverFi, Washington, D.C., is in the beginning phases of implementation at Batesville High School and Oldenburg Academy. “That was a big success” made possible by a $30,755 Indiana Family and Social Services Administration grant that will fund it for four years.

BHS associate principal Brad Stoneking said the noncredit, mandatory alcohol course will be taken in health classes. He, principal Andy Allen and health teacher Connie Dickman participated in a phone conference with EverFi officials. “We did get some vital information about it that we did like.”

Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Melissa Tucker said speaker Chad Vargas, who overcame a challenging childhood because of his mother’s drug use, and the current online Community Perception Survey were other wins.

Choices Program/SADD director Cindy Blessing liked seeing the coalition partner with other groups, such as area police volunteers and the Batesville Mayor’s Youth Council, on National Night Out Aug. 5, 2013.

The Rev. Larry Dimick of Batesville United Methodist Church said the promotion of a prescription drug disposal program should make a difference. He also remembered the “We’re not Going to Take It” billboard campaign to discourage illegal drug use.

Roberts maintained that Police Chief Stan Holt, co-chair of CDFB with Mayor Rick Fledderman, “and the police force have done an outstanding job of nipping some things in the bud.” With the help of the Indiana State Police, U.S. Marshals Service in Indianapolis, Ripley County Prosecutor’s Office and Jinx, a 54-pound Dutch shepherd and her trainer, Sgt. Danny Hamilton, 14 alleged drug dealers were arrested in the second half of 2012, significantly more than in past years.

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