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Many thanks to Toni Young, Barb Monaco, Soroptimist International of Polson, Mr. Whitesell and Polson School District #23 for bringing Ron Clem and his daughter, Carren, to speak to our community schools about drug and alcohol abuse on February 22-23.

Ron and his daughter shared their firsthand experiences as a “family in crisis” when Carren became addicted to meth and was raped as a 14-year-old. In addition to our middle school and high school, Ron and Carren were scheduled speakers at St. Ignatius and Charlo High Schools and the reception at all four schools was phenomenal.

Mr. Whitesell sent out a phone blast that covered over 1,900 teachers and parents of students in School District 23, encouraging them to come and hear Clem talk about kids making choices. The event was free for students and parents throughout the days including an evening presentation and, personally, I was very disappointed at the apparent lack of concern and lack of attendance on the part of parents with students in these two schools. There was a smattering of parents overall but what a powerful message you missed.

If we as a community do not think there is a drug and alcohol problem in our valley, think again. Some of this abuse opens the door to sexual and labor slavery and if you don’t think that is a real problem, do a little research.

Flathead County, our next door neighbor, has the highest incidence of human trafficking in the state of Montana. Human trafficking is the third largest illegal money maker in our country behind illegal drugs being number one and number two is illegal arms. It has reached such high proportions in Flathead County that the Flathead Abolitionist Movement has been created in Kalispell.

A group of students at Flathead High School have been instrumental in forming this organization and have hosted a panel discussion on one occasion and an educational video for the community on another and both were well attended. You can get more information on this fledgling organization by going to

Ron and Carren created Teens in Crisis in Kalispell because they’re finding this problem is so insidious and is destroying families. People — please pay attention to what is happening, right under our noses, to our children. Drug houses are everywhere, creating easy access to drugs and these drug dealers are recruiting young men and women who use drugs to recruit more youngsters to further their monetary gains. Some youths are, literally, selling their bodies and souls once they’re hooked and young people should not have to be dealing those kinds of decisions. Pay attention, people.

Dorothy Ashcraft
President, Soroptimist International of Polson


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