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February newsletter on drugs and alcohol


Here’s the text of our February newsletter.

Since our last newsletter, we have several items to report to you regarding our pledge to focus on the prevention of underage possession and use of alcohol and illegal drugs,efforts that our citizens told us was important to them at the community forums last fall.

 A letter to all retail beer, wine, and spirits outlets was mailed on January 27, and posted on the CCSO website.  In it, the sheriff encourages merchants to engage with him in preventing access to alcohol by young persons. 

 Using the social medium Facebook, a sheriff’s deputy learned that a party was planned to celebrate the seventeenth birthday of a local woman and that forty-seven persons, several of them under the age of twenty-one, had responded to the invitation and planned to attend.  The deputy then obtained a search warrant for the premises, located within a mobile home park in Buena Vista, and at about 10:30pm entered the home where the party was in progress.  Three persons were arrested and charged with permitting the serving of alcohol to an underage person.  A marijuana smoking pipe and a small quantity of marijuana were seized during the search of the residence.

The Chaffee County Drug Task Force, a joint effort by our local police departments, the sheriff’s office, and the district attorney, announced the arrests of two adults on felony charges of unlawful possession and distribution of methamphetamine.  The arrests came as a result of a “sting” operation conducted by members of the task force.

Salida police officers continue to routinely conduct unannounced inspections of local beer, wine, and spirits retail outlets in that city.

A joint effort by officials of the Salida police department, Salida municipal court, Chaffee County court, and the district attorney’s office has resulted in the creation of a DUI Court.  This is a comprehensive program of treatment and prevention that has been shown to be remarkably effective in other jurisdictions.

With very substantial assistance from the County Clerk, the sheriff’s office cosponsored training at the county fairgrounds for employees in the retail alcohol sales and service industry.  Instructors were from the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division.  The next training will be in May.

The Buena Vista Police Department is coordinating a drinking and driving education/prevention program for Buena Vista High School students.  The program, entitled Every Fifteen Minutes, is held over two days during which there are mock accident scenes and role players drawn from the student body, law enforcement, and other first responders.  Visit the program’s website to learn more: http://every15minutes.com/

In response to suggestions from citizens, the sheriff’s office is in the process of establishing a tip line that will be administered directly by the undersheriff.  We experienced some minor technical problems, but the line should be operational within the next week or so.

Build A Generation has received results from the anonymous student surveys, 6th through 12th grade.  The information includes student reported substance use; personal safety and violence; school experience; family and home life; mental health; future aspirations; physical health; sexual health (high school only); and perception of peers and family behavior.   Anonymous parent surveys were also completed in Buena Vista and Salida school districts by some middle and high school parents concerning their perceptions on underage access, use and perception of harm around alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and prescription drug use. We will be collaborating with Build A Generation to present these results to parents and the community in forums this spring or summer.

New Distance Learning Course Launched: Environmental Strategies
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center (UDETC) are pleased to launch the second in a series of on-line distance learning courses. These courses aim to provide law enforcement and community organizations with valuable, no-cost training that focuses on the reduction of underage access to alcohol. The newest course in this series is Environmental Strategies and can be accessed at http://www.udetc.org/distancelearning.htm

This two-hour online course is designed as a basic-level familiarization to environmental strategies targeting the reduction of youth access to alcohol and a foundation for follow-up on-site training provided by UDETC. The course provides basic strategies and information on assessing community needs and applying science-based strategies.

And a final note about future efforts in Chaffee County

Funding and limited resources throughout county and state governments continue to impede efforts by law enforcement to vigorously pursue the goals we have set for ourselves.  Earlier this month, the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division was notified that federal funds for the 2012/14 funding cycle have been cut by 80% and as a result, there will be no 2012 state block grants for enforcing underage drinking laws.  Without that federal support, the state’s liquor enforcement division will not be granting sub-awards later this year.  The sheriff’s office had been counting on these funds to support our efforts, but we continue to seek alternative funds.