BLADE Looks To Tackle Crow Wing County Drug Problem In New, Collaborative Way
A new program recently launched in the Brainerd Lakes Area that is aiming to combat the drug problem in Crow Wing County in a new and unique way.
In Crow Wing County, from 2015 to 2017, the number of drug cases tried by the county attorney’s office more than doubled.
“Methamphetamine continues to be our number one issue and it has been for the last few years. Our out-of-home placements through community services continue to climb and that’s really our focus, is what can we do,” said Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard.
This spurred local officials and community members to ask themselves how this problem could be addressed in a new and unique way.
“Earlier this year, Tim Houle challenged us to come up with a new and innovative way to try to address our growing drug problem and at the same time address the issue of protecting our vulnerable families and children,” explained Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan.
From this came BLADE, Brainerd Lakes Area Drug Education, a collaboration between law enforcement, Crow Wing County Community Services, Crow Wing County schools, and the community as a whole.
“BLADE is a catchy slogan and we kind of like that. Brainerd Lakes Area Drug Education – it kind of fit perfectly. We just want to have conversations. We want to see what our public has for ideas. It’s nothing that we as law enforcement can do solely. It’s nothing that just our courts can do or just our community services do, or just our churches can do,” added Goddard. “We need everyone to work together.”
BLADE was specifically created to bring together all the players in the community, not just law enforcement or the court system, to tackle the growing drug problem.
“We want that buy in. We want people to come forward with their ideas and we need help. We’ve got a great part of our existing community and we’ve got a great part of our recovery community, our sober community that are all coming together with great ideas and that’s what we’re trying to push for,” Goddard said.
“They’re struggling. How can we help them, what can we do, and to provide courage strength and hope,” said BLADE volunteer Charly Niesen.
“The more together a community is, the easier it is to build each other up. Only focusing on one area, there’s other areas that are struggling. We need to be a family of all of us,” added volunteer Mari Jevning.
One of the goals of BLADE is to integrate new drug prevention and education programming into the elementary schools in Crow Wing County to reach kids at a younger age.