Havre Daily News
A Chippewa Cree tribal council member said he thinks the approaches taken to end methamphetamine addiction aren't working as well as they could.
Jonathan Windy Boy, who also is a member of the state House, helped form a committee to combat the problem of meth on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation. The group's goals include holding workshops and community forums on meth, developing a drug court, creating a database to track meth offenders and starting a methamphetamine lab cleanup program.
“It's starting to balloon into something bigger than I expected, which is good,” Windy Boy said today about the effort.
He said the committee will have a cultural approach. Many people at Rocky Boy are missing something in their lives and turn to meth as a result, he added.
He said he wants to create an environment where people feel comfortable admitting they have an addiction and can get help.
“Locking you up and throwing away the key isn't the answer,” he said.
“The 12-step process, not to knock the program, but when we're dealing with methamphetamines, I don't know if Western medicine has a way to deal with it. It affects the total being and might need a new approach,” he added. “Involvement - that is the biggest thing.”
The committee will be working with and learning from other reservations and anti-meth groups, including the Tri-Agency Safe Trails Task Force, formerly the Tri-Agency Task Force.
A drug task force agent met with members of Rocky Boy's meth advisory committee and about 30 community members Tuesday to present an overview about methamphetamine. The panel, which was created by the tribal council in January, was shown what methamphetamines look like, how the drug is made, how meth is injested and how it affects the user.
Task force agent Jerry Nystrom on Tuesday said the meeting went very well.
“It's very obvious they're taking a communitywide approach,” said Nystrom, who was deputized as a federal agent when the task force began receiving the majority of its money from the FBI in January.
Windy Boy said the discussions started with meth and then moved to some of the underlying issues behind meth addiction, including high unemployment.
Windy Boy said the group is still in the discussion phase and wants to get as much participation from the community as possible.
Nystrom said he will be working with and educating the committee at future meetings.
Brenda Guardipee, director of the tribe's social services program, said another problem that came up at the meeting was youth violence.