It is often said what a difference a year can make. In this four part series we will explore this concept as it pertains to efforts that Burnett County made to tackle meth. Over a year ago the alarm was sounded highlighting the impact and destruction meth was having on the county. The effort was started by a non-profit organization called Wild About Education. The head of this foundation Dave Shoenecker, who owns Wild Waters Sports Bar and Restaurant in Danbury, had seen firsthand the terrible affects meth was having on the community. Due to Dave’s concern the campaign began. We have had many successes and challenges in the past year. There is still much to do. We take this opportunity to thank the Burnett County community. Without them none of this would have been possible. Below there is a timeline of some of the efforts that have been made to educate, inform, and combat the methamphetamine epidemic.
· April - First meeting to find out what was happening in Burnett County regarding methamphetamine use and what we could do. Burnett County Board proclaimed June meth awareness month. Drug Impairment Training for Education Professionals held.
· May – First meeting for the Regional Meth effort in Hayward. The launch of the kNOw Meth Burnett County Facebook page.
· June – First Meth Town Hall in Siren. Almost 200 in attendance. Hiding in Plain Sight Teenage Mock Bedroom debut. Over 1,000 people have stopped and visited in the last year. Choose Life over Meth Billboard erected. We were busy with print ads, newspaper series, flyers, bill boards, presentations and yard signs.
· July – We expanded the campaign from one bill board to two with the addition of “Do the math, no meth” on State Highway 35 north.
· August – First Meth Diversion Planning meeting. First meeting about prevention curriculum for 5th grade students. Distributed yard signs at National Night Out community event. Presented at Webster Teacher In-service. Set up Hiding in Plain Sight room for the Burnett County Agricultural Society Fair and Webster School Resource Fair.
· September – Presented at Grantsburg Teacher In-service. Set up the Hiding in Plain Sight for Shell Lake School Parent Teacher Conferences.
· October - Held a Meth Town Hall in both Grantsburg and Webster. Set up Hiding in Plain Sight room for Grantsburg, Siren, and Spooner Parent Teacher Conferences.
· November - Northwest Wisconsin kNOw Meth Stakeholders Meth Forum in Rice Lake. Presented at Siren/Webster Rotary. Held a Youth Meth Town Hall at Siren School District.
· December - Presented at Grantsburg High School’s Health Class on both alcohol and drug awareness. Began teaching prevention to Siren 5th grade students.
· January – The Burnett County Meth Diversion Program started. The first public service announcement was posted. The 537-METH tip line was expanded from Barron County Sheriff’s Department, to include Burnett county. Presented at Siren Teacher In-service. Brian Cole presented his meth prevention message at Siren, Webster, and Grantsburg schools. Started Grantsburg and Webster 5th grade drug prevention curriculum.
· February - Mino Bimaadiziwin Drug Awareness Conference hosted by St. Croix Tribal Center. Over 300 in attendance. Trained AODA Community Coalition of Douglas County on how to present the Hiding in Plain Sight and how to use to create advocates in the community.
· March – Brian Cole presented at the Northwoods, Shell Lake, and Spooner schools. Presented at Grantsburg Rotary. We did Road Side Clean-up, sharps, and propane tank Awareness Flyers throughout the county and social media.
· April – Regional Meth Summit was held at Heart Wood Resort in Trego. There were over 300 in attendance. Of those 300, 33 counties, 8 tribes, and 15 elected officials were represented. Completed the Northwest Wisconsin kNOw Meth Stakeholder’s Forum Summary and Recommendations. We got the news that we were invited by Senator Harsdorf to present the Hiding in Plain Sight Room at the Capital in May.
Again, these are some of the highlights from the last year. The overall goal is to keep the momentum and efforts going to create a safer and healthy community for our youth.