2015-11-10 / Front Page

Prosecutor, IYI Team Up For Substance Abuse Awareness

Staff Report


Representatives from various businesses, organizations, schools, non-profits, and governmental entities recently attended an Indiana Youth Institute Youth Worker Café event at the Owen County Family YMCA focused on youth substance abuse. (Staff Photo) Representatives from various businesses, organizations, schools, non-profits, and governmental entities recently attended an Indiana Youth Institute Youth Worker Café event at the Owen County Family YMCA focused on youth substance abuse. (Staff Photo) A recent Youth Worker Café program hosted by the Indiana Youth Institute (IYI) featured Owen County Prosecutor Don Vandermoere and deputy prosecutor Ben Kim discussing local drug trends among young people in Owen County and the legal process that ensues when a teen is caught with drugs.

Held at the Owen County Family YMCA in Spencer, the program was attended by approximately 45 individuals who represented a wide array of organizations serving local youth. Those groups included Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) representatives, Owen County Drug-Free You and Me Council members, mental health and addictions counselors, church groups, and concerned citizens.


Owen County Deputy Prosecutor Ben Kim (left) and county prosecutor Don VanDerMoere address those in attendance for the recent Youth Worker Café program. (Staff Photo) Owen County Deputy Prosecutor Ben Kim (left) and county prosecutor Don VanDerMoere address those in attendance for the recent Youth Worker Café program. (Staff Photo) Discussions touched on substance abuse among young people, including local trends and statistics in Owen County, the juvenile legal process, and even some techniques employed by officers during controlled substance investigations.

According to VanDerMoere, the number of Owen County children, under the age of 18, that start smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and abusing both legal and illegal controlled substances every year is alarmingly high.

“The fact of the matter is that the criminal justice system, by itself, has proven to be ineffective in dealing with this epidemic,” he said. “In our experience and based on the studies conducted by treatment providers, it will take a collaborative effort between law enforcement, parents, guardians, educators, treatment providers, and social service agencies to stem the tide of this drug problem.

VanDerMoere pointed to statistical evidence showing kids who abuse drugs at an early age are far more likely to have contact with the criminal justice system throughout their lives as compared to those who do not abuse drugs.

“These children also tend to experience higher rates of accidents, unintended pregnancies, impaired brain function, reduced academic performance, and even death as compared to other children,” he added.

The event was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the Owen County Family YMCA, Middle Way House, Spencer-Owen Community Schools, Centerstone, and the IYI.

Youth Worker Cafés are designed to bring together local youth workers to build relationships and inspire collaborations that will benefit children.

“Youth Worker Cafés are a unique way to bring together those who work with youth in a specific community,” interim president and CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute (IYI) Glenn Augustine said. “IYI works closely with our community partners to identify and bring in experts to address topics that are of local interest. These events encourage youth workers to come together and learn new information on issues that affect young people. They’re also able to network and share resources with other local organizations that have a similar mission. These collaborations help them form connections that will ultimately benefit children in the community.”

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2015-11-10 digital edition