I had the opportunity to speak at the Benton County Above the Influence (BCATI) community meeting on April 11.  I told the story of my son, who is a drug user and how our lives were affected by drugs.  I have never spoken before about this, in fact only my closest friends know about my son and his “issues”, and it was hard.  What is harder is the fact that I have kept this quiet when I could be helping others by telling my story and getting support from the community I live in.

While I love living in Vinton, there are many things I would like to change.  One of them is the way this town looks the other way at our drug problem.  That there is no help or support for those of us dealing with people we love, family members and friends, that have drug addictions.

Benton County Above the Influence is trying to create an awareness of the drug problem that Vinton has.  They are also trying to get the community involved in finding ways to create a safe environment for our children and activities to keep kids active and away from drugs.

I would ask that all of you take some time to think about what you, your business, your family, your staff can do to increase the support of those of us dealing with drug issues as well as ways to help in the fight against drugs in our community.

If donating money is not in your budget, donate your time.  This group of caring individuals are going to be offering events to our area youth, events that will offer a safe and positive environment as well as role models.  We want to offer events free of charge, or for a minimal amount, and also offer rides to events so that all youth are able to attend.

If you would be interested in working with BCATI or making a monetary donation to sponsor events, please call David Condry, Benton County Above the Influence Project Coordinator, at (319) 436-4728 Ext. 5809, email David at dcondry@asac.us. You are welcome to visit the BCATI website at www.bcati.com.