By ROB LARSON
Daily Press Staff Writer
Debbie Bell of Milestones Wellness Center, Nancy Husselman and Sarah Hellum of the Artesia Drug & Crime Coalition, and Cpl. Kendall Richardson and Cpl. Esteban Sepulveda of the Artesia Police Department’s Community Policing Unit hosted a meeting Thursday morning at the Artesia Chamber of Commerce to discuss 7024U with a host of community figureheads.
In attendance at the meeting were Artesia City Councilors Nora Sanchez, Jose Luis Aguilar and Raul Rodriguez, John Ross Null, the assistant superintendent of the Artesia Public Schools, Community Service Officer Sarah Bassett, Chief Don Raley of the APD, Zach Riley, Congressional staffer for Congressman Steve Pearce, Tim Jennings, New Mexico State Senate Pro Tempore, New Mexico State Representatives Bill Gray and Cathrynn Brown, LTJG Harry Bailey, NSCC, Commanding Officer for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps’ Pecos Valley Ironclad Battalion, and Mathew Rael, the director of Eddy County’s Children, Youth and Families Department. … For the rest of the story, subscribe in print and on the web.
Bell spoke to the group about necessity and the intentions of the potential 7024U Outreach Center, a project that has been planned for roughly a year. According to the center’s mission statement, the overall goal is “to give Artesia’s at-risk youth the necessary tools to become productive members of the community and society through prevention, intervention and treatment.”
Through a PowerPoint presentation, Bell illustrated many of the problems endangering or harming Eddy County’s youth by showing alarming statistics published by the New Mexico Department of Health. For instance, Eddy County is first in the nation in terms of inhalants, methamphetamine, heroin and ecstasy use and prescription drug abuse, second in drinking and driving among teens and drug-induced deaths, fifth in cocaine use, fourth in attempted suicide, and fifth in suicides.