The Roundup -

Respect Your Community October 27

Students, Parents, Grandparents, Business Owners/Managers and Everyone in Richland County & More!


Finally the exciting moment is near...we didn't quite reach our funding goal but we feel this event is so important to the students and everyone in our community that we do not want to charge anyone to come! The entire day will now be FREE to everyone. The day begins at 1:00pm at Sidney High School Gymnasium with Judge Greg Mohr as the host, introducing Dr. Gary Dale, former State of Montana Medical Examiner and Kat Perkins, a top five winner of Season 6 of "The Voice" taking stage to visit with students from grades 6-12 until 3:15pm. A community meal will also be prepared by Judge Greg Mohr and served at 4:30pm at the school cafeteria. For the evening session, it is first come, first serve for seating. Security will be tight and the doors will open at 5:30pm Tuesday, October 27th for Dr. Gary Dale's message to the community and a 75 minute concert by Kat Perkins of Season 6 of "The Voice". This entire event was created to spread the message about drug usage to not only the students during the National Red Ribbon Week, but to an entire community! Education on drug usage and an empowerment message is the most important thing we can bring to a community.

It all started when one of our very astute retired business owners, Kay Fulkerson, stepped into Checkers' office with her Wall Street Journal in hand and asked if she could see me. I came up front and the first thing she said when she saw me was, "Have you seen this?"

I thought maybe she was referring to the latest statistical report put out by Dr. Barry Sample at Quest Diagnostics, but I thought I would ask. And was all about the new statistics! To relive the quote ...In one year the statistics have gone from 4.7% to 9.3% in 10,000,000 drug tests in the workplace. American workers are increasingly testing positive for workforce drug use across almost all workforce categories. Normally the rise has been in prescription drug positivity rates, but now it seems illicit drug use is on the rise. An upsurge in marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine drive the second consecutive year of increases in the positivity rate for drug tests, suggesting a potential reversal in a decades' long decline in workforce drug use. I did tell Kay that I was aware of the new statistics. She said to me, "What do you do about this?" I said, "Well, normally all we can do is uphold the integrity of the drug testing process and try to bust them so the employers don't have to have a positive worker on their workforce". Kay said, "So, what ARE you going to do about this?" I said, "I am not sure".

Ever since Checkers began testing, 11 years ago this last February, the positives in the workforce have been on the rise. We always review the statistics every year showing the locations of the positives, which drugs are the most prevalent and which workforce trades are being affected the most. I am in constant awe of how much it changes every year, but it is difficult to try and figure out how to do something about this ever growing epidemic. I had always wished that it would be easy to educate a community! If it were, I would have done something long ago. So yes, it is very difficult! 2014 was a record year for Checkers all around. We conducted a total of 33,416 tests where 23,244 were drug tests, 9,426 were alcohol tests and 746 were hair tests. We had 68 people that decided to NO SHOW for their tests, 70 people refused to test and 69 people went through with a direct observation test for bringing in either a "cold or hot" specimen from someone else or something unusual took place. In June of this year when the Statistical Report was put out by Quest Diagnostics, Checkers was already 275 tests ahead of last year's records and out of 8982 drug tests, we already had 17 NO SHOWS, 24 people had refused to test, and 24 people went through with a direct observation.

I knew we needed someone that could be a heavy hitter, someone that could make us all think before we decide to go down that path. I went home, visited with my husband, Michael McCollum from Fulkerson-Stevenson Funeral Home, Funeral Director and Deputy Coroner for Richland County and told him what had taken place. I said, "I really would like to do something because it is getting so bad in all of our offices, always with some sort of an episode taking place so I can't imagine what is happening in the schools". I knew that he had taken courses from the State Medical Examiner and those courses have had quite an impact on what he has seen with people using drugs and death. I asked him if one of his former trainers, Dr. Gary Dale, could make an impact on our kids, parents, grandparents, business owners and everyone in the community. He said, "If anyone can do it, he could!" Then, to follow with Kat Perkins from Season 6 of "The Voice", who has been sharing her empowerment message to students all over North Dakota and in Minnesota, he thought it would work. I went to my office and proposed it to my staff and they were all on board. My next visit was to Judge Greg Mohr, as I needed to know if our community was facing the same things as we were, and yes, he confirmed my suspicions and said, let's do it!

So here we are today, giving every bit of energy we can in trying to reach an entire community, teach them about drug usage and what we are facing if we don't do something about this epidemic that is not only hitting our community, but everywhere! The only way we can walk through trouble and not be defeated is by keeping our focus on our good Lord Almighty and His purpose. He has promised to do good work in our lives, but sometimes the only way He can complete it is in valleys of hardship. Please gather your family together and let's all do something about it right here, right now, in the City of Sidney, in Richland County, and throughout our great State of Montana!


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