Pubdate: Wed, 25 May 2005
Source: Huntsville Times (AL)
Copyright: 2005 The Huntsville Times
Author: Brandy Yates Poole


GUNTERSVILLE - New artillery to help battle drugs has been delivered to
Marshall County.

Commission Chairman Billy Cannon and members of the County Commission
learned Monday that $500,000 in grant money has been awarded to the county's
chapter of the Children's Policy Council.

District Judge Howard Hawk said the Alabama Department of Economic and
Community Affairs grant, which is in cooperation with the governor's office
and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, will help fight drug use
among children and teens in the county. He said some of the money will be
used to battle crystal meth, which has reached epidemic proportions in
Marshall County.

The three-year Unified Prevention System Grant will provide $100,000 for the
first year and $200,000 for each of the next two years.

Hawk said it's his dream to one day have a "one-stop juvenile service
center" in all schools with officers and counselors trained to help students
with drug problems. He said the program would be aimed at children with
parents jailed on meth-related crimes. He also offered some "scary"
statistics about the recent growth of meth in Marshall County.

"The crystal meth problem is tearing this county up," Hawk said. He said the
highest usage is among adults with elementary school-age children.

Ten years ago, the county averaged 78 cases a year of children being placed
with their grandparents or in foster care because of bad situations at home,
Hawk said. Last year, there were 475 cases and the number is expected to
exceed 500 this year. 
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