Western Navajo Meth Task Force welcomes community participation

David Rozema

David Rozema

Summer greetings to everyone from the Coconino County Attorney's Office!

It is my pleasure to report to you about a group of committed professionals and concerned citizens who have banded together to help in the fight against meth addiction and other substance abuse problems on the Navajo Reservation.

We call ourselves the Western Navajo Meth Task Force and we started meeting together in April because of our concerns over the destruction from meth in reservation communities and our desire to help prevent further harm and suffering.

Our task force members come from many walks of life. We have representatives from several behavioral and social health agencies, as well as the Tuba City Regional Health Care Center, the Navajo Office of Legislative Services, the Western Navajo Juvenile Detention Facility, the Navajo Police Department, the Tuba City District Court and the Coconino County Attorney's Office.

We also have teachers, counselors, pastors and concerned citizens on our task force. There are many fine professionals serving numerous reservation communities, and one of our main goals is to improve communication and collaboration between these public servants and to support them in any way we can.

Our focus is on Prevention-Intervention-Enforcement. We are taking a grassroots approach that is based on Native traditions and customs so that we can maximize our effectiveness and "touch the hearts" of those whose lives have been affected by meth and other drugs on the Reservation.

For example, a traditional value that relates to prevention is to Respect Your Heritage. We encourage young people to remember who they are and where they came from.

When intervention is needed, we encourage those needing help to respect themselves by doing what is necessary for restoration to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and balance.

And we ask everyone to respect the law by supporting law enforcement efforts to remove meth labs and drug dealers from our communities so we can all live in greater harmony and beauty.

Our vision is to bring our support and resources to all the chapters on the Western District of the Navajo Nation. We have also had some preliminary discussions regarding bringing our prevention-focused resources to Hopi communities.

We have several projects in-the-works, including the production and distribution of kitchen magnets that will contain referral information and phone numbers to call for anyone needing help with a meth problem.

We had a booth at the recent Youth Fair in Tuba City where we provided lots of information and handed out gifts to the youth in attendance.

We presented two guest speakers at that event who discussed meth and alcohol. We also had a drawing contest for the kids. The winner's artwork will be used on some of our school posters and other materials.

We welcome you to join us! We are still in the process of clarifying our role and direction, and we would appreciate your input and involvement.

We are diverse, enthusiastic and committed to making a positive difference! Our next meeting will be held at the Juvenile Detention Center in Tuba City at 10:00 A.M. DST on Monday, July 31.

We hope to see you there!

(David Rozema is an attorney who became a member of the Navajo Nation Bar Association in1993. He served as a Bar Commissioner for the Tuba City District from 1995-97. For the past 10 years, he has been the Chief Deputy for the Coconino County Attorney's Office.)

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