In an effort to combat the growing crisis of methamphetamine use and addiction in Sampson County , the Sampson County Methamphetamine Task Force has identified and developed a plan that includes four strategic initiatives. These initiatives are: (1.) Early Intervention, (2.) Public Awareness, (3.) Response Plan, and (4.) Training

Specific actions to be taken regarding these initiatives are as indicated here:

Early Intervention efforts include using the existing Eastpointe Mental Health call in number for referral and treatment. The number is included on informational materials and handouts involving public awareness. Support is being provided for all current efforts being made by Eastpointe and both our county and city school systems to prevent drug use by our youth.

This crucial initiative is undertaken to first prevent meth use and secondly to offer addicts an alternative before the eventual involvement with law enforcement and the judicial system. Some statistics indicate that early intervention is far less costly than arrest and jail time. In fact intervention cost is reportedly only one tenth of the cost of jail time.

Other targeted areas of early intervention are community coalitions, faith based efforts, and community grants.

Public Awareness efforts include working with the public school systems. A flyer sharing some tips for recognizing “meth” use, the existence of “meth” manufacturing labs and resulting circumstances of use is being distributed . The intent is to reach a number of people quickly and effectively. Flyers are distributed to businesses and all school systems in Sampson County. They will include telephone numbers for help and information on training and public awareness initiatives.

In addition, public service announcements are being produced by local media. WCLN is currently running an excellent public service announcement intended to promote awareness of the dangers of both methamphetamine use and manufacturing. Also, frequent articles are being published by The Sampson Independent.

The Response Plan primarily focuses on children found in meth labs and sets forth protocols for the proper and safe care of those children. An effective plan has been developed, approved, and implemented by the Task Force.

Training Initiatives are being completed annually to bring individuals up to date on this public health hazard. Three specific trainings will be undertaken. This involves four hour training courses for emergency responders, two hour training programs for public and private sector employees that find their jobs bring them into dangerous home environments throughout our county, and training sessions offered for persons interested in making presentations to civic groups, public meetings, etc.