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Written by Kenneth R. Fisher Sr. M.C.C.J.
Walden University
December, 2007

Trickling Sand: The Pocono Dilemma, African American Men and Drugs

Introduction

One Saturday evening, just at sunset, on a Pocono side street, one kid passes another and extends his hand forward filled with one hundred dollar bills. Zoom in a flash, the other kid grabs the money and places back into the extended hand a lunch baggie containing a white powdery substance. Hey! What just went down?

According to Britt (2004), socioeconomic considerations are eminent determinants of African American men's drug use (p. 1). After extensive research, "experts on substance abuse disorders agree that poverty and other socioeconomic factors have a great impact on the prevalence of substance abuse in the African American community" (Britt, p. 1). Since the above facts hold true, this research project will explore the relationship between African American men and drug use in the town of Pocono, U.S.A.

Problem Analysis

Prior research studies and drive-bys shows that there is an enormous rate of drug trafficking, illegitimacy and African American males and drug use in the city. The research field sites in particular are the apartment complexes across from Wal-Mart. Large amounts of graffiti; trash and low participation of residents in the upkeep of the complexes convey people need help.

Through multi-sector collaborations and from seeking agreement for interviews with community leaders, this writer will work to form an alliance with the following agencies. These agencies are the Pocono Police Department, Worcester County Health Department, the One Stop Job Market, New Street Baptist Church and the Salvation Army. It is hoped that the agency's leaders and professionals will agree to devote their expertise in helping the men described in this proposal. A 1992 study identified poverty, illiteracy, limited job opportunities, poor education, high availability of drugs, and stresses of the urban lifestyle as underpinnings of substance abuse in the black community (Clucas & Clark, 1992, p. 531-547).

The following agencies can play significant roles helping to address the drug problem in Pocono's neighborhood across from Wal-Mart. From the first sector, Philanthropy, the Salvation Army should provide help. The Salvation Army can play the role of providing counseling and other interceptive strategies to many current and recovering users and their families. The Salvation Army Adults Rehabilitation Centers offer a comprehensive residential rehabilitation program for men suffering from alcohol and drug addictions. The program is work-oriented, spiritually based, and includes recreational opportunities The Pocono Police Department, Worcester County Health department and One Stop Job Market, all from the government (second sector) sector, can act to help address the socioeconomic problems in Pocono. The local government, police, can play the role of protector, enforcer of the laws and educator. The Health Department's can assist in medically treating the drug user's addictions. The One Stop Job Market can be available to assist the recovering user in either maintaining or re-entry into the workforce.

According to Britt (2004), the Black Church is where many African Americans learn important aspects of socialization, including value transmission, positive modeling by other persons in the congregation, and important lessons in managing life (p. 2). Of course, the Black Church, for many of these drug users, will be fulfilling the role of Kilth and Kin (third sector), as described by (Dr, Angelica, 2004, p. 21). The general mission and structure of the church is to offer freedom of worship according to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition, the Black Church in this neighborhood is structured to offer multiple programs to address other socioeconomic problems. To the extent that's permissible, the Black Church stands ready to assist recovering alcohol or drug users in the town of Pocono. (http://wwwtsamv.org/arc.htm).

The mission and structure of the Police Department is being adept in "providing the highest quality of police service to the citizens of Pocono by working in harmony with the community (http://www,cityofsmallville.com/index.asp). The department is equipped with the tools in crime prevention, enforcement of the laws and removal of the criminal element from the community. Through deterrence the police department offers the most help to the alcoholic and drug users in this neighborhood. The Worcester County Health Department is structured to offer the services of an addiction program to the needy in Pocono. Also, there are prevention services available to the public. The mission of this program is to provide counseling, assessments, DWI treatment, jail counseling, referral services, treatment, consultations, crisis intervention, urinalysis, employment assistance program training, and adolescent and special groups (http://www.worcesterhealth.org/addictions.php).

The structure and mission of the One Stop Job Market is to offer services such as, Workforce Exchange, EmployOn Client Match, Career Scope Assessments and Reporting System, O Net Internet Profiler, Win Way Resume Writer and Mobile One- Stop (MOS). Key actors involved in this project can be comprised of members from all three sectors identified earlier in the paper. Actors can include church counselors from the local churches, and alcohol and addictions counselors from the Salvation Army and Health Department. Also, Pocono Police officers can work to educate the community and work to implement and monitor neighborhood watch programs. The Health Department medical staff can also provide services to the alcohol and drug users from this neighborhood. The One Stop Job Market can provide professional employment counselors who are equipped with skills in vocational rehabilitation and job placement.

Points of contact will include the Rev. Man, pastor and crime prevention youth counselor of New Street Baptist Church, 410-957-0000. The Chief at the Pocono City Police Department can be another point of contact, 410-957-1000. The point of contact at the Health Department can be Ms Jane Doe, 410-632-2005. Mike Tomlinson 410-632-5071 is the point of contact from the One Stop Job Market.

After completing a Master's degree in Criminology at the University of Maryland E.S., with research on Pocono' law enforcement, education and crime, this writer have revisited this social issue to research for my multi-sector research project in the Master's of Public Administration program at Walden University. This additional research project should allow further identification of the causes and possible solutions to this community's problem with drug use among African American men. After exploring principle one, knowing thyself, in the course mind gym, this writer was challenged to be either part of the problem or part of the solution. Thus, this writer has chosen to be a part of the solution and help to provide research for many of the future students, scholars, police, and educators in this town and across America.

Strategic Alliances

First and foremost this writer brings the strength of perseverance and networking with a host of other University criminologist to the table to help address this problem. Additionally, this writer also has been academically trained to advocate, communicate, and negotiate with businessmen, city, and church clergy concerning social-economic issues. After extensively indulging in the mind gym, the realization emerged that one could lose valuable time trying to address this project and others similar to it, alone. The level of intelligence and knowledge that is required goes beyond vague generalizations and assumptions concerning the social issues within the Pocono's neighborhood across from Wal-mart. Young people, as well as old are dying in this area and drugs, traffic safety issues, homicide and murder are some of the causes. There is a necessity for this research project and follow-up research concerning the social issues in this town.

Sources

Angelica, M. (2004). Managing at the Boundaries: Creative Thought for Social Change.
      Walden University, Minneapolis, MN.

Britt, A., (2004). African Americans, Substance Abuse and Spirituality. P. 1-6 retrieved from http://www.minoritynurse.com/features/health/07-21-04d.html

Clucks, A., and Clark, V. (1992). Module 2 7: Drug and Alcohol Problems in Populations. In. M.A. Neagle (Ed.) Substance Abuse Education in Nursing, vol. 2, pp. 531-547. New York National League for Nursing.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (2002). The Dasis Report: Black Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment: 1999. Rockville, Md.: Officer of Applied Studies.

http://www.tsamv.org/arc.htm

http://www.cityofsmallville.com/index.asp

http://www.worcesterhealth.org/addictions.php


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