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10-19-05 · 01-03-06 · 03-17-06 · 07-27-06 · 06-27-06 · 10-30-06 · 11-30-06

Sampson County Meth Task Force
Meeting October 19, 2005

The Sampson County Meth Task Force met on October 19, 2005 at Sampson Community College in the Warren Student Center Boardroom.

Chair, J.W. Simmons, called the meeting to order at 8:30 am.

Present: Amber Cava; John Wengert; Chris Hatcher; Paul Jensen; Wes Meyers; Dail Eason; Teresa Underwood; Brenda Fisher; Stewart Hobbs; Pat Dixon; Ron Lessard; Ronald Bass; Sarah Bradshaw; Renee’ White; Jimmy Thornton; Trooper R.S. Smith; Mary Margaret Hobbs; Geraldine Shipp; and Lucinda Honeycutt.

J.W. Simmons asked everyone to introduce themselves. He noted that Sarah Bradshaw and Mary Margaret Hobbs were both instrumental in the protocol development for removing children from Meth homes.

The minutes from the August 24, 2005 meeting were approved by the group with a motion from John Wengert and seconded by Sarah Bradshaw.

J.W. commended the group on all their efforts on the Task Force because they do make a difference.


Business Symposium: Sarah Bradshaw informed the group that the subcommittee met on Thursday, September 22, 2005, to start plans for the symposium for area Meth awareness. They are looking at several dates in January 2006 to be held at Prestage Hall at the Agri-Expo Center. After much discussion, they decided that they could plan for this to be an all day event instead of ending at noon as originally discussed. The plan includes contacting Roy Cooper’s office with the facility availability dates and coordinating with his office and building the plans around dates he can participate. Jason Grellner, who is a speaker from the Franklin County Missouri Sheriff’s Department, will be asked to come. Chris Hatcher will also have Jenny Wood contact Worth Bolton to speak. Chris added that Mr. Bolton formerly worked in Wilmington as a substance abuse counselor and presently teaches Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill. The subcommittee will be meeting again to continue plans and decide on what strategic target group will be invited to the symposium and they’ll work through Amber Cava at the Chamber of Commerce. J.W. asked if there was a motion to stand behind this activity. Sarah Bradshaw made a motion for approval. John Wengert seconded the motion with agreement from the entire group. Mr. Wengert stated that it is a major undertaking and Sarah Boyer with Star Telephone can help with the mail outs etc.

Amber Cava stated that the price for rental of Prestage Hall would be less than $350. Fees would be extra for use of audio visual equipment and the kitchen. John Wengert stated that Star Telephone will cover the cost up to $500. Pat Dixon added that he would be glad to make radio announcements about the symposium when the plans are finalized.

Faith Based Community Efforts:

Paul Jensen representing Dennis Newton stated that the efforts of volunteers are as follows:

  • They’re praying for the Meth Task Force
  • They’ll listen to addicts and go to them and try to help them.
  • Minister to Families
  • Seek the addicts and help those who want to be helped.

A list of churches/individuals in the area willing to help was distributed to the Task Force.

Sarah Bradshaw confirmed that church contact is an excellent way to reel in the youth and get help for them. Adults realize they are going to lose their families or jobs due to their addictions. Shannon Smith made a motion to support the Faith Based efforts. Wes Meyers seconded this motion.

Website Review:

J.W. added the following: Chris Rayner, Sampson County IT Director, is maintaining the website for us now. The testimonial portion of the website can be used anonymously. The Task Force was advised that they could place information in that section adding statements advising the public about the anonymity of the site and our need for their stories to be told in relation to Meth and the impact it has on their lives. He asked that the Task Force continue to inform groups/contacts about the website.

Other Discussion: Trooper Shannon Smith with the NCHP posed a question to Sheriff Thornton with regards to whether the DARE program could be used to educate kids about Meth. Jimmy Thornton responded that they need to touch all schools and, as serious as the problem is now, it needs to be taught in the middle schools. Wal-Mart has given donations to do drug awareness education but at this point, they’ve not developed a plan. The juvenile court system conducts drug testing and is finding that the large majority of the “below 16” age group is testing positive for Meth. J.W. added that he has talked to principals and there has been discussion regarding developing coursework on addiction and drug abuse as a credit for kindergarten through 12 th grade. Stewart Hobbs informed the group that they would have to start developing this type of program. A Wellness Policy has to be implemented and a curriculum would have to be approved through the state. J.W. added that he could contact Roy Cooper’s office and see if they could also look at this as a possibility for the entire state. He asked if there could be a motion made to look at efforts to include substance abuse education in the school system curriculum. Pat Dixon made a motion with a second by Shannon Smith.


Employee Drug Testing: J.W. stated that, as a Task Force, we could recommend drug testing for employees in the area. This epidemic crosses all social and economical boundaries. Employers need to be made aware that there is a major drug problem out there. Chris Hatcher asked what the route would be if an employee tested positive for drugs. Would you fire them or get them help? With Mental Health Reform, they can only assist people with severe drug problems. Brenda Fisher added that some major corporations do have programs that send their staff for necessary help. There has to be a commitment on the part of the addict to the treatment program in order to have successful results and they must be willing to make life changes. If employers do assist with supporting staff that have addictions, they need to make the treatment mandatory. Treatment involves a lot of support from family, friends, Faith Based groups, etc.

John Wengert exclaimed that Star Telephone has a written policy for staff that is addicted. If the employee admits they have a problem after testing positive for drugs, the company supports them with assistance to obtain treatments. If they do not admit they have a problem after they’ve tested positively, they are fired. Sarah Bradshaw added that the county government is presently developing an Employee Assistance Program. Mr. Sauer has requested that personnel policies for the county be rewritten to include drug testing for employees.

Chris Hatcher stated that this disease doesn’t have a great success rate of recovery. The recovering addict has to change his “playmates” and “playground” in order to succeed and kick the habit and most aren’t willing to do that. John Wengert made a motion for the Task Force to back efforts and work toward drug testing for employees to be implemented in area businesses pursuant to legal issues involved. Brenda Fisher and Ronald Bass seconded the motion.

J.W. added that law enforcement still plays a big part in addicts seeking treatment because, when they are arrested, this prompts them to make a change. Ms. Fisher suggested Dominion Diagnostics as a possible source for someone to speak on how drug testing is conducted. Wes Meyers stated that drug users are very tricky and testing has to be observed.

Intervention Initiatives/Rehab Efforts: Chris Hatcher stated that Jack St. Clair met recently with Resources for Human Development. They are looking at locating a treatment center at Thompson Homes in Garland. The plan is for this facility to be directed toward women who need treatment because of Child Protective Services involvement or if they are receiving Work First. This is in the planning stages only. Since the state would be paying for these services, they have to approve licenses and set regulations. Mary Margaret Hobbs informed the group about Mental Health funds that will be accessed effective January 2006 for a Clinical Social Worker position to the Services staff at DSS. Chris added that the state has suggested merging Eastpointe with several other counties to save money on administrative costs. J.W. mentioned that incarceration is costing the state more money in comparison to what rehabilitation costs would be.

J.W. asked for volunteers to work on the Meth Task Force Mission Statement. Sarah Bradshaw stated that she would speak to Sherry Matthews about helping with this. J.W., Sarah, Amber and John Wengert will take on this assignment.

J.W. ended with the following: As pseudoephedrine is restricted from sales, the large manufacturers of Meth are becoming more resourceful. They now have a liquid Meth that is clear in color and being brought in from super labs from Mexico and California. It is being bottled to appear as other things (i.e. in liquor bottles) and has shown up in Tennessee and Kentucky. It can be transported across the border with no problem due to the packaging. Meth is destroying the country. The Task Force needs to track what we’ve been doing so everyone will be aware of the progress we’ve made. “NEVER GIVE UP THE FIGHT!”

The meeting was adjourned at 10:10 am.