Morning Optimists hear about substance abuse

The Morning Optimist Club of Marshalltown held its weekly meeting July 22 at the Hy-Vee Dining Room. President John Hall opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation. Hall issued several reminders of upcoming events: the Iowa District Convention in Burlington, Aug. 1-3; the Splash Dance on Aug. 6 and the N.O.W. potluck on Sept. 7. He challenged all members to invite one potential member to the N.O.W. gathering.

July Program Chair David Hicks introduced guest speakers Shannon Chyma and Molly Hall from the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit of Central Iowa, commonly known as SATUCI. According to Chyma, the organization has six counselors, besides the three staff persons who are involved in prevention services. She and Hall provide prevention services to youth as well as to adults.

They visit local schools at all levels to deliver drug and alcohol abuse prevention messages that are appropriate for each age level. Children who are at risk are identified by teachers and then meet in small groups at the school. Chyma and Hall also do training of adults in the workplace.

In addition, Chyma noted, they provide community-wide education about substance abuse prevention. She stated that the number one abused drug is still alcohol. A new challenge for SATUCI and law makers has been the growing use of electronic cigarettes. Before law makers could restrict the use of the e-cigarettes to persons 18 years of age and older, younger teenagers were beginning to use them. Though many people use the e-cigarettes as a means to stop smoking, according to Chyma, it still takes seven to 10 attempts at quitting before most people succeed. Other challenges that Chyma sees are the growing use of synthetic drugs that are called by many names, as well as the increasing use of heroin in Iowa.

Hall closed the meeting by leading the recitation of the Optimist Creed. The Morning Optimist Club of Marshalltown meets Tuesdays at 6:30 a.m. at the Hy-Vee Dining Room. Guests are welcome. The club’s website is at www.morningoptimists.org.