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Government Affairs Creates New Group To Help With Drug Epidemic

 

August 21, 2019 | View PDF



During the most recent Sidney Chamber government affairs meeting held Wednesday, Aug 14, members discussed action to address the drug problem the area is facing.

With increased drug use being a problem nationwide, Sidney is no exemption from that. Methamphetamines, narcotics and more have become a problem for the area. 

“One problem we face is that when trying to recruit professionals or getting young families to our area, they see in the news all the drug related issues Sidney is facing and it makes it hard to get them to want to move here,” said Chamber of Commerce executive director Bill Vander Weele.

While there’s a lot of work to be done to completely fix the situation, government affairs committee members are being realistic in what they are aiming to do. 

“We know we can’t fix the issue, but we want to do something to help,” said city clerk and treasurer Jessica Redfield. 

In an attempt to get as much help as possible, the government affairs committee is recruiting local public figures and groups to form a new group to battle the drug problem Sidney is facing.

So far they have the support of the Sidney Police Department, Richland County Sheriff’s Office, Fairview Police, Judge Luke Savage, Sidney High School Principal Brent Sukut and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“We’re trying to get the support of city and county law enforcement, Mental Health and schools,” Vander Weele said.

Redfield said they hope by involving the schools, they can reach student council to get the opportunity to hear and see things from the students prospective.

“I believe as community leaders that we need to come together and try to make a plan to inform the public about the issues we have in Richland County,” Sidney Mayor Rick Norby said. “We have to figure out a way to combat the drug issues we have in our communities.”

Recently, U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., visited Sidney to address local issues with area leaders. Vander Weele referenced that meeting saying that Gianforte made the point that the drug epidemic isn’t just a Sidney problem, it’s a problem everywhere. 

“We don’t know the answer to fixing the problem, but we’re taking steps to address the issue,” Vander Weele said.

 

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