Panel: Early intervention needed to combat methamphetamine

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Lifeways, Inc. sponsored a public forum Thurday, addressing the trends of drug abuse in Rapid City. The topic of discussion was methamphetamine, a rising issue around the country.

“This is not just a Rapid City or South Dakota problem, this is a problem everywhere, but as a community we can’t expect the state or federal government to fix this problem,” said Rapid City Police Officer, Tim Doyle.

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A panel of 13 community members discussed solutions and ways that they should be implemented. One such solution involved starting prevention education at an early age as drug abusers continue to grow younger.

“The youngest in 2014 was 15 years old, in 2015 it was 13, and in 2016 it was 12, so the age keeps going down,” explained Doyle.

The Rapid City Police Department also recorded that the average age of juveniles who were arrested for controlled substance in 2014 was 17.9 years old. In 2015, the average age was 16.6 years old with the average age in 2016 being 16 years old - a steady decrease in age each year.

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Lifeways Inc. has been providing evidence-based programming involving prevention and intervention with students in Rapid City Area Schools since 2003 and Custer Area Schools since 2005. The organization educates teens on how to handle stress in a constructive way and helps teens set goals.

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