Crow Wing County Organizations Come Together To Combat Area Drug Problem And Stigma
Organizations in the Brainerd Lakes Area recently came together with the goal of forming an initiative to end the stigma and combat the drug problem in Crow Wing County.
Kaylyn Collett has faced struggles in the past, but she is a perfect example that recovery is possible.
“We think about stereotypes like the person who is walking down the street, maybe dirty, or carrying backpacks and stuff, and sometimes we use that same label for people who have found recovery and are working out in the community,” said Kaylyn Collett, peer support specialist and recovery coach.
Recent comments surrounding a meeting of Crow Wing County Commissioners have spurred local advocates to come together and start an ongoing conversation about how we can end the stigma and combat the drug problem that plagues the area.
“I think that stigma comes from a place where people are afraid or they don’t have the education necessary. It’s important that we talk about these topics, that we have an open dialogue,” said Laura Vaughn, Northern Pines Executive Director.
In Crow Wing County, methamphetamine is a particular issue. According to recent data, meth has surpassed alcohol and is now the number one reason people are seeking or are placed in treatment.
“It’s the biggest problem that we face here in Crow Wing County. It has been our number one enemy, if you will. I mean it, really – it’s destroying in some instances we have documented cases of third generation,” said Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard.
The sheriff’s office hopes to work with organizations like Northern Pines, a comprehensive community mental health center, to find innovative ways to combat the drug problem.
“Recovery is not just possible, but we plan for it,” added Vaughn.
“Whether or not we get to that point quickly or it takes a little longer, we’re willing to put forth that effort,” said Paul McCormick, a licensed alcohol and drug counselor.
Many of the recovery coaches at Northern Pines have overcame addiction and show that recovery is possible.
“What I try to do every day is just show people that recovery is possible and this is what recovery looks like,” said certified peer recovery specialist Dawn Powell.
The group hopes that they are able to demonstrate that the community does better when they come together.
“There are means to an end. There are ways to get out of this constant cycle and we have to show that with a positive spin,” added Sheriff Goddard. “We have to show that we can work together.”
Above all, they want you to know that if you are struggling, you are not alone.
“I feel like everything I went through brought me to be the person I am today and I’m right where I’m supposed to be,” said Powell. “I have this gift to go out and help others with my story.”
“There is hope and we just want to find the solution. We want to figure out how exactly can we work together to support the people who are still suffering,” Collett said.