Battling Drugs at Turtle Mountain - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Battling Drugs at Turtle Mountain

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Drugs and gangs.

Two things no parents want to hear about in their children's lives.

But experts gathered at a forum in Belcourt said today that both problems are growing on the Turtle Mountain Reservation.

The forum called "Take Back Our Community" included law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and an expert on gangs in Indian country.

Christopher Grant spent time as a policeman but has been offering his services as a consultant on gangs for many years.

He says the influx of people to the state because of the oil boom has a chance of introducing a new element into all communities, including reservations.

Grant says the fact that tribal leaders are interested in hosting a forum such as this shows they want to deal with drug problems and head off gang issues.

(Christopher Grant, Native American Gang Specialist) "The fact is there are lots of communities, both tribal and non-tribal, that don't talk about these issues. I guess they take the attitude that if we don't talk about it it's not going to happen. This is a healthy, good thing for this community to do, be talking about the issue...what can we do to either deal with what's going on or prepare for what may be coming."

The drug and gang forum was held at the Turtle Mountain Community College north of Belcourt.

The college president says the school is pursuing new lines of study and degrees in addiction studies, in an effort to meet the needs of the region.

(Dr. Jim Davis, TMCC President) "We want to get to a point where we provide a program of study that would get into an associate degree or baccalaureate degree because obviously there's a need in our community and throughout the state for this."

Today's forum also included a presentation on federal prosecution by an official from the US Attorney's office.

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