|Casper Journal Articles
From the Natrona County Public Library
Your Library At Work For You
By Dr. Dan Molyneux, Literacy and Community Development Specialist
April 5, 2006
During the past several months library staff have been involved in the discussion concerning Meth and substance abuse. It is clear that a common thread is at the heart of most substance abuse: unhealthy relationships. We see evidence of such between individuals, in families and in society at large.
Our nation is dealing with the scourge of Meth addiction - the high personal, family and community costs, as well as the increased crime that accompanies substance abuse. Wyoming has been at the front lines of the Meth epidemic. Meth, however, is not an isolated issue, but rather is a symptom of a deeper problem.
To successfully solve the problem of substance abuse, the underlying foundational issues must also be addressed. Nationally, the number of unstable families with children under eighteen continues to increase. The problem begins before a baby is born. For instance, a large percentage of babies in Wyoming are born to mothers who continue to use tobacco, alcohol and/or illegal drugs during pregnancy. This often results in children who are developmentally disadvantaged, and it places the children at risk of poor educational performance, difficulty with reading, and other long-term problems. Ultimately, these children are also more likely to abuse substances as they grow older.
A number of programs and initiatives are underway to address the symptoms and results of substance abuse, such as: additional treatment facilities, increased drug testing, drug courts and so on. These are all vitally important in combating Meth by identifying and treating individuals who have already begun to abuse drugs. The Library Board, however, has adopted and embraced the crucial mission of promoting prevention in order to stop substance abuse before it begins. Although this is a more complicated, and in many ways more daunting task, it is also one that can produce huge benefits. As the State of Wyoming’s “Children & Families Initiative” states,
“Wyoming must make a commitment to prevention…We know that $1 in prevention yields nearly $7 in future cost savings in everything from remedial education to chronic disease, crime, substance abuse and poverty.”
The library has begun to work on this important task. Projects may include programs for: building successful, long-term relationships, parenting skills, dealing with conflict in relationships, generational poverty and how our community can combat it, and increased literacy programs for both children and parents. The library’s collection will also include additional items concerning substance abuse, relationships and parenting; and there will be additional staff help and resources for those needing to be referred for aid or treatment in the community.
We are a can-do community that works well together in solving our common challenges. By clearly identifying the key factors that contribute to substance abuse and then addressing them, our community will help turn the tide in the battle against drugs. This is a long journey, but one that must be made for the sake of our children and community. Your library is committed to help solve this important civic issue.
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