The Tennessee National Guard Counterdrug Program is a vital member of a coalition of National Guard members, law enforcement agencies, and local communities involved in a multi front battle against drugs and drug related violence. The mission of the program is to provide high quality military personnel and equipment to support federal, state, and local drug LEAs as well as community based organizations that work to reduce the demand for drugs.
Sgt. Tom Clouse, with the Tennessee National Guard Counterdrug Division, presents programs in five counties to schools, civic organizations, and even offers free training to hospital personnel. The CounterDrug Division has informational static displays that can be set up at community events that depict many of the activities and program available. The display works well with large number of people. The program can provide speakers for assemblies or any size group or meeting. These speakers can both inform various groups on drug related topics and increase awareness of the many programs offered by the division. This can be from elementary students up to, and including, senior citizen organizations.
His main purpose however, is to educated the children of Macon and surrounding counties of the harmful effects of drugs, especially methamphetamine.
According to Sgt. Clouse, he is here to support the community. He hopes that by educating the community he can stop the social acceptance of drugs. Sgt. Clouse said that often times he will asked students, during a presentation, if they know anyone who smokes marijuana. He reported that most of the time over 50% of students raise their hands. Sgt. Clouse said that marijuana is the most socially accepted drug which only leads children to harder drugs such as methamphetamine.
He reported that met labs are not only found in lower to middle class homes they are also found in the most respected homes in the community. Most meth labs are located because a home will catch on fire when an inexperienced "cook" will miscalculate and blow the ingredients up. Many of the residents of Macon County may also be unaware of another drug, Oxycotin, which is highly popular in the county. Many cases have been reported of "doctor hopping." This is where a person will make up an ailment and travel from doctor to doctor to receive prescriptions pain relievers.
The CounterDrug Program is about making a difference in the community. They offer other programs such as the "Bee Like Me, Bee Drug Free" or the Mobile Team Challenge.
The Bee Like Me, Bee Drug Free program is a flexible, comprehensive, highly visible program that begins where other drug programs end. The program recognizes the student who has made the commitment to be drug free. By using peer pressure as a positive guidance tool, both mentor and subordinated are included to make good choices and follow the path to success; to be all they can "Bee". The program is unique in that the participant acts as both he teacher and student to his/her peer group. With such high visibility and an awareness that younger students are watching them emulate, the participate will be reminded to make good choices and pursue a successful future.
The Mobile Team Challenge is a adventure based experiential education course that is designed for on site training and instruction. The six "Pillars of Character" are Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. In addition to the six "Pillars of Character," Mobile Team Challenge is designed to teach: Teamwork and Cooperation, Change and Flexibility, Decision Making and Planning, Communication, and Problem Solving, Leadership, Support, Perseverance, Self Awareness, and Critical Thinking.
Recently the Mobile Team Challenge was put into action at the Boy Force held at the National Guard Armory for 5th grade male students from Lafayette Elementary School.
Sgt. Clouse reported that he enjoys working with the people of Macon County and hopes to continue to bring awareness to the students. He said, "The more people that are educated, the less likely kids are to do drugs. Sometimes all kids need to keep them out of drugs is other kids and some attention. I hope to give them something to get into other than drugs."
If you would like Sgt. Clouse to visit your club or organization contact him at 931-879-7760.