Our Choices today affect our Communities Tommorrow
By Ellen Feuerhelm
“Our Choices Today Affect Our Communities Tomorrow” METH Prevention Campaign of the Upper Sioux Community in Granite Falls, Minn.
Vault line: “It’s a part of society and (Upper Sioux Community are trying to be pro-active and combative against this enemy).” Said Kevin Jensvold Chairman of Upper Sioux Community
By: Journal Correspondent Ellen M Feuerhelm
Granite Falls, Minn. On Tues. May 9, at 9 a.m. Kevin Jensvold placed the first of 13 signs near Travers Lane on the Upper Sioux Community near Granite Falls, Minn. putting a grinding halt to Meth’s wide spread use and abuse in the community by making the point of ‘ZERO TOLERANCE’ allowed. After the placement of the signs a Meth Training program with guest speaker Jay Barton from Harrah, OK Police Department and Consultant to National American Indian Housing Council, Washington, DC gave a presentation.
“Our biggest goal is that our children are not subjected to (Meth brought on type of situations).” Said Kevin Jensvold Chairman of Upper Sioux Community “Our culture has an advantage in that we take care of our own relatives at all times.”
Jensvold along with his informative staff including Sharon Odegard, Treasurer, Upper Sioux Community Board of Trustees, catalyst Elitta Gouge’, Secretary, Upper Sioux Community Board of Trustees, and N. Scott Larsen, Commissioner, Upper Sioux Community Indian Housing Authority discussed many of their concerns that they have been dishing out for discussion for about 9 months for the advantage of a better life for the next generation of the Upper Sioux Community. Costs to the community in the future if this Meth is not stopped are long term health costs, facilities, health insurance rate increases, and death.
“Discussing Meth with community members and a member spouted out that the recovery rate is about 3% because of such a high” said Gouge’ “You know that hits our community and we are going to be in trouble.”
“It really messed up my life and (Meth) It’s hard to get off of too” said Jess from Rock County Minn. Jess has two children to bring up as a single mother while her husband spends time in jail because of Meth. Is Meth worth the heart aches to the family members, community members, co-workers, and friends?
“Most of the time people on drugs think they are invincible. This guy was a 1st class mechanic and smart at everything. He made 2,500 a week as a mechanic and stopped working because of Meth, greed and drug addiction. The Habitual Offender thought he could make more selling, making, and doing the illegal activities. Greed landed him a long term ticket to prison. Dealing with young people will get you life,” said Mike Wetzler 20 year veteran Angola Correction Officer LA State Penitentiary and Sergeant Master Washington Correction Institute in Louisiana. Wetzler was pleased to see a community like Jensvold’s taking such strong actions against a deadly killer in our nation. “By the time they get to prison all we can do is watch them in the forensic hospital and most are kept in quarantine. They do not handle prison well at all.”
On the housing angle the Meth chemicals get into every aspect of a home and it is something that is hard to clean up after. Researching Meth clean up on the internet is available. f
“The most effective way to clean a meth house, is to burn it down because meth gets into the air conditioning, walls, sheet rock, ducts, (the plumbing needs to be removed, and it becomes a EPA clean up project)” Said Michael V. Welch S.D. Housing Inspector and Army Corp of Engineer from Yankton, S.D.
In addition, few states have published standards for cleanup of meth. Congress is pushing for the Environmental Protection Agency to develop federal guidelines. There are still unconfirmed conclusions about the effects of chemicals involved in producing the meth drug.
“I am a little jealous of those sign on the Upper Sioux and( I had checked with Madison, S.D. about being a foster parent but (my age) and they worry about the health of kids taken from Meth homes before they are placed but I am still looking into being a foster parent)” said Adele Davis Flandreau, S.D.
“A few problems with Meth have occurred and (it is already affecting this area of S.D.” Said Michelle Miller non-tribal member and Vance Jandreau J.R. Lower Brule S. D. Miller and Jandreau thought a bust on the Turtle Mountain’s had occurred.
“(The Casino) is perfect place) to try to launder money (but we have camera’s and we are ready.)” Said Miller. “(Meth people) think that on I-90 we are not trained (but we are trained and we are focused).” Said Miller
On an ending note the Life sentence for Meth dealing was upheld for a Minnesota man dealing drugs on the Turtle Mountain Reservation.
Jay Barton from Harrah, OK Police Department and Consultant to National American Indian Housing Council in Washington, D.C. shocks his audiences into viewing the real life side effects of Meth: origins, market, and chemistry. Barton shows photos of the user’s with rotten teeth while educating them of the poisonous effects to children in any range of the Meth drug; breathing, eating, sleeping, and walking by the houses. Everyone in the community is affected. The Native communities often have to foot the tab along with the housing shortages there is a definite need for education about Meth for the continued safety of the next 7 generations.
“There’s a lot of shock value to this, and I think that’s good because people aren’t aware of how dangerous Meth can become to peoples life’s” Said Jess and friends from Rock County, Minn. One of Jess friends speaks from the Twin Cities on the drastic effects Meth has had on all of these young kids’ lives and they are all under 25 years of age.
© Ellen Feuerhelm