Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

February 18, 2014

Drug-free coalition eyes goals

(Continued)

Holt believed forming the volunteer Batesville Drug and Alcohol Response Team (DART) was helpful. “When we were dealing with a lot of arrests, there were families everywhere” needing addiction resources. Fledderman recalled, “We had a lot of people who didn’t know who to turn to.” Holt and other team members gave even anonymous callers some advice and options. However, now the number seeking help has dwindled.

Geralyn Litzinger, Margaret Mary Health community health director, said by collaborating with partners such as the hospital, schools and Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce, “we’re able to reach more people” with information and events. Schiesler suggested CDFB members write for each other’s newsletters.

Local coalition coordinator Kim Linkel noted that discussing the possibility of random drug testing is advantageous. “Not too long ago it was dead in the water.”

According to Schiesler, LaSalle, a Cincinnati private male high school, will do mandatory drug testing starting in the fall. Six to eight students daily over the school year will be tested. Roberts said, “We just don’t have that option with a public school setting.” If testing is instituted, “we have to find a way to get the largest pool,” which could be student drivers. Schiesler explained why LaSalle officials will begin testing: “They had two major issues. A young man was killed after giving a dealer counterfeit money. The other was a suicide attempt in the classroom during the day.” School officials decided, “‘We have to do something.’”

Linkel said she’s encouraged more area citizens want to be involved with the coalition. On the survey, 20 out of 300 respondents so far checked that box.

Despite failing to get a federal Drug Free Communities annual $125,000 grant for up to five years by 1 point, the coalition has attracted smaller amounts, including $1,500 from Belterra riverboat revenue-sharing funds, $200 from Cierra’s Club and a Batesville Tool & Die donation.

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