Health Drugs in Cullman County: what’s happening and what can be done about it | CullmanSense

Health

Drugs in Cullman County: what’s happening and what can be done about it

CULLMAN - As part of an ongoing series on the national drug crisis and how it affects the Cullman area, The Tribune is asking local authorities in the field to answer a few basic questions. From the law enforcement perspective, Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper and Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry share their thoughts.

Chief Culpepper

Facts and figures, supplied by Records Clerk Kristyn Pair:

Of 445 total arrests in the city of Cullman in 2016, 107 (24 percent) were for drug-related offenses.  The average age of a person arrested for the first time on a drug-related offense was 20 to 21.  methamphetamine is the number one drug of choice, with opioid pills running a close second.

From the chief:

What is the most effective way to keep young people from starting? Does D.A.R.E. work?

“A good support network is very beneficial. D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is an important part of that network because it helps give young people the skills they need to resist peer pressure and live productive drug-free lives.”

Once someone is in the system, what is the most effective rehab treatment?

“Long-term Christian-based rehabs are the most effective.  The most common factor among those who succeed is a willingness to quit and a strong desire to stop using the drugs.  A good support system is essential in helping people to stay off of drugs.”

Sheriff Gentry

Facts and figures:

Of 3,612 total arrests by the CCSO in 2016, 1,035 (28.6 percent) were for drug-related offenses.  The average age of a drug suspect arrested for the first time was 33 to 34.  The number one drug of choice was methamphetamine, followed in order by opioid prescription pills and heroin.

What is the most effective way to keep young people from starting? Does D.A.R.E. work?

“The most effective way is prevention by education.  You have to educate kids starting when they’re young, and you need to be honest with them: show them the end result of what drug use is.

“One issue with D.A.R.E. is that it’s outdated, in material and content.  The content and message need to change with trends.  When it started, it was about alcohol and tobacco, but now there are new drugs and new problems.  Kids in 2017 are different from kids in 1990.  We need to keep up with the trends.”

Once someone is in the system, what is the most effective rehab treatment?

“The most effective rehab is long-term--that’s one year or longer--faith-based rehabs.”

Recommended programs

Both law enforcement leaders recommended long-term faith-based approaches to drug rehabilitation.  Gentry mentioned three programs that the CCSO often uses:

    -Teen Challenge - Despite the name, it’s not just for teenagers.  Claiming one of the highest success rates in the world, it is an international organization with more than 1,100 centers.  Four are located in Alabama: induction centers at Bay Minette and Jones, a women’s center in the Hayden/Warrior area, and a men’s center/ administrative office in Lincoln.  Learn more at http://alatc.org/home.

    -Royal Pines Recovery Center - A ministry of the Jimmie Hale Mission located in Hayden, it offers a 16-week residential recovery program in a rural setting; it also offers work therapy, educational remediation and career-readiness assistance.  Learn more at https://jimmiehalemission.com/ministries-more/royal-pines.

    -Restoring Women Outreach - Located right here in Cullman, RWO offers a 12- to 18-month residential program that includes work therapy and GED preparation.  Learn more at www.facebook.com/Restoring-Women-Outreach-Inc-507636689278874.

Copyright 2017 Humble Roots, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Image: AdobeStock