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January 5, 2016• Headline News
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First baby of 2016 at Dearborn County Hospital

First baby of 2016

Dearborn County Hospital welcomed its first baby born in 2016, Sophia Lavonne Hurst, daughter of Michelle and Eric Hurst of Cross Plains. She was presented with a certificate for a $500 savings account at the Dearborn County Hospital Federal Credit Union by Emy Duke, RN, DCH Birthing Center Staff Nurse. Sophia was delivered by Amanda Parker DCH Physician Partners Certified Nurse Midwife at 2:24 a.m. on Saturday, January 2. She weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce, and was 20 inches in length. Her mother Michelle is a registered nurse at DCH, and Eric is a supervisor at Elgin Fasteners.

Group seeks grant to prevent drug abuse

Mary Mattingly

The Ripley County Drug Awareness Coalition is applying for a sizeable grant to prevent youth substance abuse. Amy Phillips, coordinator of the coalition, met with sector representatives from the community, who are already part of the RCDAC, on Dec. 17 to discuss goals and strategy to apply for the 2016 Drug Free Community Support Program grant. This is the county’s third attempt, but Phillips feels they are getting closer each time to the award. It’s worth the time and effort because of the potential money awarded and the impact it could have on the community. The federal grant is awarded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP).

Ripley County Drug Awareness Coalition

Amy Phillips, coordinator of the Ripley County Drug Awareness Coalition, met with over a dozen community representatives for assistance with a federal grant. Pictured are South Ripley School Supt. Rob Moorhead, Jim Corbin, Ripley County EMS director, and Vicky Powell, county public health administrator.

“We know our county has a problem with drugs among those ages 18 to 24, but this is to target youth, those under 18,” Phillips told the group of about 16. It’s a $125,000 grant to be awarded for five years, with the possibility of another five years. “It’s a lot of money over 10 years, actually a million dollars,” she said.

A main goal is to build infrastructure in the community to prevent youth substance abuse and to strengthen collaboration in the community, with private and public sector and federal, state and local entities. “We want to be a county where families want to live…a healthy well community for our kids to grow up,” Phillips, also a mother and from Milan, commented, “I want to keep things that keep our small town and county an amazing place to live,” she added.

The sectors represented include Rob Moorhead, superintendent at South Ripley, Vicky Powell with the health department and Kelly Poltrack with Margaret Mary Health Foundation, Rebecca Allen with Family Connections, Sarah Volz, parent and with United Community Bank, Andy Hertel with Better Options counseling, Abby Leonetti with the prosecutor’s office, David Hoover with the SEI YMCA, Mary Mattingly with Ripley Publishing, Mary Ellen Rippe with Romweber/ Fear Factory, Mark Jenkins with Milan Christian Church, Jon Whitehair with Voices for Children, and two freshman students from Jac-Cen-Del on the STAAND program. Also, Sonya Carrico is the Substance Abuse Services Division Director for Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and is providing technical assistance in applying for the DFC grant.   Seven strategies for pursuing community change from CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) were presented, including providing education and social support to reducing the barriers and changing the consequences.

Two problems
The group’s initial task was to identify two substances that impact youth. While heroin has been in the news, the concensus was that alcohol and marijuana were more prevalent among students. Phillips also cited an Indiana Prevention Resource survey which indicated those two are the most commonly abused in the county. They brainstormed on why it is a problem, starting with alcohol. The group listed several reasons: parent attitude and own use, accessibility and being culturally accepted. As one of the JCD teens stated about the peer pressure to drink, “I think people want to be cool like older kids, and so they drink.” The group, which met in Batesville, also commented that alcohol can be a coping mechanism, but can be easily hidden with minor consequences. Also, there is a lack of understanding as to what alcohol does to the body and brain. Perception though is part of the problem. Phillips brought up a recent local survey of teens that showed 1 in 4 drink. “That means there is a huge population who are not drinking. It’s a misconception that everyone does,” she commented. Positive promotion of good behavior, that this is a norm, were considered as a preventive strategy.

Marijuana use
The reasons for marijuana use were also discussed. Once again, they brought up the “cool factor” but also that it is glorified in culture; pot is not considered a drug and the lesser of two evils despite evidence saying it’s a gateway drug; parent’s attitude and their own use; and the attempts to legalize it in other states make it more acceptable. For intentions of the grant, the group will focus on the perception that it is safe, the accessibility and peer acceptance.

The next meeting will be Jan. 21 at the Osgood Town Hall following the 11:30 Ripley Co. Drug Awareness Coalition. The coalition meeting is open to the public.

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