Burnett County has done a lot with prevention and intervention in the past year. When working in prevention, we follow the effective model of the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF). The SPF uses the evidence based approach of: Assessment, Capacity Building, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation; with Sustainability and Cultural Competence addressed at every step. One important piece to the prevention programs we implement is to build the protective factors in youths’ lives, in order to reverse or reduce risk factors. Intervention is a professionally directed, education process resulting in some type of educational opportunity or a treatment service.
In regards to prevention we look at the program that was implemented in this last year within the 5th grade classrooms of all three school districts in Burnett County. We spent time with these students to work on building their protective factors, through enhancing their self esteem and problem solving skills to protect them from risks; thus reducing the risk factors, which can lead to problem situations. The 3 meth town halls, were essential in the prevention initiatives put forth in the county, as it provided the opportunity for the citizens of the county to see what efforts have been put together to help combat the beast that is meth, let the community members ask important questions, and educate on the dangers of meth, the impact of meth, and the resources available in Burnett County. In November, the Burnet County Prevention Coalition, along with our colleagues in Barron, Polk, Rusk, and Washburn Counties, put on a Meth Stakeholders Forum; to make a call to action. From this, a summary report with recommendations was created. Through the northwest regional effort, a Meth Summit was held, which had 33 counties, 8 tribal communities, and 15 elected officials represented, including the Wisconsin State Attorney General Brad Schimel. There were almost 300 people in attendance. We also were invited to speak at teacher in services, have billboards throughout the county, flyers and brochures of all the services that we provide, and many presentations to parents and community explaining the drug trends in the county while focusing on meth.
One example of intervention is the Burnett County Meth Diversion Program. This program is designed to assist the first/second meth offenders or those whom have their children removed from their home or at risk of it. This is done by offering treatment as well as monitoring sobriety. This measure of support is at times what the offender needs to pull themselves up from the addiction.
Burnett County is unique as it has the only Meth Diversion program. Also unique is the three levels of case management that is available to those in Burnett County. For those struggling and looking for some assistance and support they can contact the HHS Department and ask for the Meth Case Manager. Drug Court is also an option for those who are far into their addiction and have criminal charges.
We are often asked what people can do to help our organizations. At the very least, one can simply support the initiatives that are being put forth by organizations and agencies. This could be putting yard signs on display at your home, to voicing your support throughout the communities, to becoming foster parents for those young ones who have had to be removed from dire situations. Working together we are stronger.