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Meth Series Story 5

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/methseries_135.mp3

In this segment of KSMU's series on methamphetamine, Michele Skalicky looks at what the Community Partnership of the Ozarks is doing to fight meth.

Melissa Haddow knows there's a methamphetamine problem in SW MO, and she's working hard to try to fight it.

Haddow, executive director of the Community Partnership of the Ozarks, says they're doing several things to try to attack the area's meth problem.

The organization has put together meth tool kits and they offer presentations to elementary children, teenagers, landlords and service workers who might go into homes where meth is being made or sold.

In 2006, they trained more than 4600 people

The Community Partnership of the Ozarks also has a committee working specifically on trying to prevent pregnant women from using meth. They've designed a brochure that talks about meth use and pregnancy, and Haddow says they've tested the effectiveness of it thru a survey of pregnant women

Haddow says the Community Partnership is currently doing focus groups with teenagers to try to get a handle on the degree of meth use they're seeing among their peer group. They're designing brochures and posters geared towards teens. And they have meth door hangers that they distribute that contain information about what to look for in a meth lab. Haddow feels confident they're making a difference

The Community Partnership of the Ozarks is also working with area hospitals and physicians as well as others to address the needs of children who are affected by meth. Haddow says research clearly indicates that if children are living in a home where meth is being used, they're at a very high risk of neglect and abuse

The Community Partnership started an endangered kids task force several years ago. It involves several collaborative partners including law enforcement, the fire department, child advocacy centers, physicians, social workers and others. One of the main things that came out of that task force was a medical protocol where all children who are removed from their homes due to meth by the Children's Division are taken to one central place where they're examined and tested.

Now, Haddow says, they're working to put into place a plan to address those children's mental health and psychosocial needs

The need for such a plan is great, according to Haddow. She says meth is one of the biggest reasons children are being removed from their homes

If you'd like more information about the Community Partnership of the Ozarks' efforts to address the methamphetamine problem in SW MO, give them a call at 888-2020 or go to nometh.org or commpartnership.org.