Victor Braatz was disappointed by the small turnout at a recent forum hosted by Recovery Network, Inc. and the Charlotte Police Department. However, he remains undeterred from his mission of educating his community about the emerging drug trends that have surfaced in Eaton County.

“There was not a real good turnout,” Braatz said. “People don’t think we have these problems here, but we do.”

One of the biggest concerns is the growth in use of methamphetamine or meth as its more widely referred. According to Braatz, Eaton County has the eighth highest rate of meth incidences in the State of Michigan. Charlotte Police officer, Jeremy Poortvliet was on hand to share some important information as how community members can be more aware of things taking place in their neighborhoods.

“This is not a new problem, but it is trending in all communities not just Charlotte,” Poortvliet said.

He identifying meth activity can be difficult, but there are signs people can watch for in their neighborhood, including visitors at all hours of the day, paranoid behavior, large amounts of trash not dumped in a normal fashion and added security to a residence.

He said concerned citizens should contact their local law enforcement agency if they suspect any suspicious activity.

“Our goal is to bring awareness to the community,” Poortvliet said. “We want people to understand the signs of meth use and production. Our department has taken steps to be more proactive.”

He said Charlotte Police have received increased training on dealing with meth and its production. The department is also cooperating with other local agencies, such as the Recovery Network to help combat the problem.

The forum also provided information on the emergence of synthetic drugs, some of which can be purchased over the counter. Prescription medication abuse is also on the rise locally and nationwide.

“There was a lot of good information shared,” Braatz said. “We’ll keep putting stuff out there and will likely host another forum in December or January and hope for a better turnout.”