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Archives for January 2018

McLeod Education and Drug Awareness (MEADA)

This MEADA Parenting & Prevention Newsletter features information about:

  • Simple but Effective Ways for Dealing Productively with Disagreement
  • Find out more about the JUUL – a new e-cig popular with teens
  • Drugs in McLeod County and How our Children Navigate Detection
  • Fentanyl Laced Heroin Epidemic
  • ZERO Adult Provider

Click Here for the Full Newsletter

Progression of Dangerous Drugs

The New Reality; Progression of Dangerous Drugs
and How our Children Navigate Detection

By Carmen Morrow, ISD 423 Chemical Health Intervention Specialist

The most frequent question that I get asked is, “Are there drugs in our town and if so, what kind?”  Unfortunately, we have many different types of drugs in McLeod County. These drugs are more than the usual experimental types and are very different from years past.

Every day I hear and see the damage that illegal drugs are causing our local community as well as the effects they have on our children. I have had in-depth conversations with students who are currently struggling with life as a drug user. It is my conversations with these students that help me find insight into the drug culture in our community. It is that insight, directly from users, that I am sharing with you here.

In a few cases, they have become addicted and are known as an addict. These addicts come from a variety of homes, social classes, ages and sex. Addiction does not discriminate. Kids from “good homes” are not exempt. These students don’t appear to be concerned about the social, emotional and legal consequences of their use any more than addicts from any other social class. According to many of the users, their parents have not taught them the consequences of illicit or experimental drug use. They also agree that parents often ignore the signs that their child and/or their friends are using. The users agree that the worst thing parents can do is ignore the signs or even downplay the evidence of use.

There are real emotional health issues that our children are using drugs to medicate. Drug use is often a cry for help in managing/coping with life’s pressures. Pretending there isn’t an issue allows it to become more serious. Some local parents feel it’s fine to provide a place for underage parties. They have even been reported to hang out with the teens as they use, which gives children an enormous mixed message.

You may be wondering why students might start using. Boredom, curiosity, and escape from mental health issues like anxiety, depression and stress are the main reasons for starting drug use. This drug use becomes a way of life to medicate their feelings, to relax or “feel good,” to “get high.”  Sadly, these users strongly believe that in today’s society they are no longer being taught proper coping skills. There’s little face-to-face communication, instead technology has become the focus of their interactions. They feel there’s no time to slow down and relax, so drugs are being taken in order to “keep going.” Rather than being taught coping skills, children are learning how to suppress their feelings. Fatigue, stress, depression, and every other “bad” emotion is being suppressed with drugs because society has decided that those emotions are not for public viewing.

An important factor to note is that over the years, especially over the last 15 years, the progression of drugs has become extremely alarming due to the increase in the potency, types, and availability. These are not the drugs that we as parents and grandparents grew up with. They are extremely dangerous and addictive. There is a consensus that feel drugs are very accessible if you want them. Popular drugs for our children like alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, are not too surprising. However, hearing that cocaine, prescriptions, marijuana candies, synthetic marijuana K-2/Spice, Dabs (high potency marijuana wax), meth, E-cigarettes with candy flavored nicotine e-juice (Vaping), shrooms (psychedelic mushrooms), synthetics (man-made recipes to mimic drugs), and Acid/LSD, are popular might be a surprise to you. Unfortunately, to everyday service men/women (police officer, EMTs, etc.), as well as chemical dependency counselors, and many other professionals that work closely with drug users, this is NOT a surprise. According to our heavy users, a lot of times these harder drugs are easier to get than marijuana.  Drug dealers and users are well hidden, as they are not someone the average person would stereotype as such. Occasionally, they are the students with the labels of athlete, “popular,” “most likely to succeed,” and/or even the honor students.

Abuse of prescription opiate drugs is now considered a nationwide epidemic due to users being addicted to the “pain killing” drug. Our children have access to these too, and many times they are taken out of medicine cabinets. However, prescription meds are harder to find than heroin, which is cheaper. Heroin has progressed to stronger and deadlier synthetic versions called Carfentanil and Fentanyl (Carfentanil is an analog synthetic version of Fentanyl, created to be more potent, and cheaper. It is believed to be 10,000 times more potent than morphine, 4,000 times more potent than heroin, and 1,000 times more potent than Fentanyl). The users have good news, these extremely potent drugs are not popular or easily found in McLeod county.

There are several cases of synthetic drug use among our children that have resulted in trips to the emergency room, as well as serious, long-term health issues. These results happen when our children unknowingly or knowingly take a synthetic drug. Locally, we are primarily seeing synthetic LSD, marijuana (K2/ Spice), and meth. A variety of synthetic drug recipes can be found on the internet and can be easily made. What you may not know is that dealers will use/sell synthetic drugs instead of the original drug, as they are usually cheaper, easier to get, and can be man made locally. Unfortunately, you never know the dosage.

Worse yet, the ease of getting these drugs in your hands has changed over the years. We still have our drug dealers, but they’re no longer walking among our community. The dark web is a direct line that they use to get drugs. Forget about making your own Dabs or taking the pills from a family member’s medicine bottle, it can be easier and cheaper to order the drugs. The odds that you get caught are a lot less too. Even the technology to make drug connections has changed. Today, the seller and buyer make a connection by using several of the functions on their cell phone. Snapchat, which cannot be traced as easily as text messages or emails, can send pictures and/or texts that disappear in a selected amount of time. Snapchat location will show where the dealer is and even what roads are being taken to meet up. Facebook messenger is also used to go incognito in order to hide contacts and messages. No need to send a traceable message that can be used to incriminate them.

So with the growing amount of drugs to choose from, the ease of availability, and the ability to hide conversations, what can parents do to protect their children?

  1. Be proactive and talk often to your children throughout their childhood years about drug use.  Helping them develop respect and a healthy fear for the illegal,  emotional, social, and physical consequences that drug use brings.
  2. Be a role model: Identify and expressing feelings appropriately. Regulating stress by role modeling healthy coping skills. Children learn how to regulate their emotions which in turns develops healthy children.
  3. Keep them involved and fill their time with positive activities.
  4. Know their friends.
  5. Be an active citizen of McLeod county and report suspicious drug activity/concerns to the child’s parent and/or law enforcement.
  6. Don’t ignore the problem. Address it with the appropriate support level needed to help your child stay chemically free and develop health coping skills for life’s success.

As parents and citizens of McLeod county, we can assist in getting these drugs out of our community. By becoming emotionally healthy ourselves and raising healthy children, their will less of a demand for drugs in our community.

Tigers of the Week: Laina Berthiaume and Gabe Stassen

Congratulations to Laina and Gabe, the TIGERs of the Week for January 29 – February 2

Laina Berthiaume – Girls Hockey

Laina always works hard in practice to push herself and her teammates. She is a student of the game and asks questions and tries new things. Laina has recently been adding a new dimension to her game and has been stepping up in the play and becoming a much more offensive-defenseman. As she has seen success in this her confidence has grown and it has really helped the team to be more successful as a whole.

Gabe Stassen – Boys Swim and Dive

Gabe has worked hard all of his seasons as a Tigershark, but this year has stepped up as a leader on deck and in the pool. Gabe has dropped over 5 seconds off his 100 butterfly this season, as well as filling a gap as a strong 200 IM swimmer for the team.  He puts 100% effort into each of his races, often times being exhausted at the end of each one, yet still stopping to get feedback from coaches. He is honest about his yards at practice and puts in maximum effort (especially on kick sets, where he leads the team). He is respectful of his teammates, coaches, competition, and officials at each meet.

Activity Schedule: January 29 – February 3, 2018

Click Here for this weeks activities schedule.

Activities Department

Thayne Johnson, Activities Director
Meghan Laffen, Administrative Assistant


“Tiger Talks” with Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

Monday, January 29, 2018
7:00 pm
Hutchinson High School (1200 Roberts Rd SW)

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, a 17 year old nationally renowned author and activist, will share his story on “bringing activism to what we do.”

“The biggest challenge we face is shifting human consciousness, not saving the plant.” – Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

Tickets – $5
Available at:
Citizens Bank and Trust
Cash Wise
Hutchinson High School
Tickets printed by Standard Printing

Tigers of the Week: Eliza Wortz & Levi Broersma

Our TIGERs of the Week for January 22 – 26 are Eliza Wortz and Levi Broersma.  Congratulations!

Eliza Wortz – Girls Basketball

Eliza hit four 3 point shots in a conference win over Waconia.  She has shown with persistence and practice, her form would come back and she would be a huge contributor not only being the best passer but also being a threat to score. Her leadership has gotten us through many close games and we will count on her in the final weeks to bring home a conference title!

Levi Broersma – Boys Basketball

Levi is a quiet leader that leads by example. He is willing to do anything that is asked of him. Levi is a versatile player that can play 4 of 5 positions on the floor.

He ranks among the top five players on the team in scoring, rebounding, and minutes played.

Activities Schedule: January 22-27, 2018

Click Here for this weeks activities schedule.

Activities Department

Thayne Johnson, Activities Director
Meghan Laffen, Administrative Assistant



Frozen Friday Activity Night – January 26, 2018


  • What: “Frozen Friday” Activity Nights
  • Who: Families with children ages birth to kindergarten
  • When: Fridays, January 19th & 26th  from 6 :00 to 8:00 pm
  • Where: West Elementary Gym (875 School Rd. S.)
  • Fee: $5 per family

Activities Include:  Book drawings, Bounce House, tunnels, parachute, balls, games, magnetic ice fishing, playdoh fun.

Questions:  Call Cindy at 587-8908


Establishing a Healthy Habit

By Valerie Huepenbecker, Counselor, Park Elementary

January is a great time to start thinking about starting a new healthy habit. People are creatures of habit. A habit is something we do daily without thinking. As parents and educators we need to help our children establish healthy habits for learning. Some say it takes forty days to create a habit. The beginning of the year is a great time to create and establish personal and family routines that will someday become lifelong healthy habits.

Create sleep routines-

According to The National Sleep Foundation, “Inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and cognitive problems that impact on their ability to learn in school.” You can help your child establish a good sleep routine by limiting TV and computer time before bed, make the child’s room dark and quiet, and set and keep a regular and consistent bedtime. The Mayo clinic recommends school-age children receive 10-11 hours of sleep every night. Set a bedtime routine with reading and keep it consistent. Practice deep breathing or mindfulness exercises before bed to prepare the body and mind for rest.

Create nutrition and exercise routines-

Good nutrition and daily exercise is essential to healthy brain development which is critical to learning. The American Psychological Association states that children who eat a healthy diet and exercise daily are more likely to perform better academically, feel better about themselves and their abilities, and avoid feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Simple things can lead to big health improvements for your child. Start your child’s day with a healthy breakfast, pack healthy snacks, and have fun being active with your child. Take a family bike ride or play catch in the yard, it is recommended that children get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. By starting these habits early, maybe we can change the almost 30 percent of American children who are overweight. (Retrieved from the 2007 National survey of Children’s health)

Create organization/homework routines-

Provide your child with a time and place to focus, study, and read their school work. This environment might look differently for different students. Some children need a quiet place, like a desk in their bedroom, others prefer the kitchen table. What is most important is that the time and place be consistent, so the child forms the habit of doing daily school work.

Keep things organized by helping your child prepare for the next day. Keep backpacks in the same place every night, lunches packed the night before, and clothes laid out. This will help the morning run smoothly and create the environment for an organized good morning. Help your child create checklists of things that need to be done at night and in the morning. Hang the checklists in their room or on a bathroom mirror. If your child is very young, try adding pictures to help them become more responsible and organized for the things they need to get done. If you have a busy family schedule, try putting up a whiteboard by the door to have a weekly schedule and daily checklist.  Often family members are going in different directions and this is a way to keep everyone organized and “in the know”!

Try not to get overwhelmed by changing to many things at a time, start small, be consistent and before you know it you will be creating a healthy habit!

Tigers of the Week: Jordan Stenzel & Makenna Einck

Congrats to Jordan and Makenna, our TIGERs of the Week for January 15 – 19

Jordan Stenzel – Wrestling

Jordan is 8-1 in his last nine matches with his only loss coming to a highly ranked wrestler. He has earned 1st in his last two tournaments. He has wrestled multiple weight classes and taken on challenges to help the team. He is a hard worker in practice and very respectful of his teammates and their efforts as well.

Makenna Einck – Dance

Kenna is a two year captain that brings fantastic leadership to the team. She was critical in revamping our high kick routine for the second half of the season. Not only is she a great example of leadership and integrity, she also displays great technique, strength, and style in our choreography.

Hutchinson Public Schools

Hutchinson Public Schools