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Hamilton County residents invited to drug and alcohol forum Thursday

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By Lindy Thackston

NOBLESVILLE, IN - Jeanine Motsay never thought she’d be a guest speaker at an illegal drug forum. But her world changed this year.

“Well actually it was a fairly typical weekend for us,” said Jeanine Motsay.

Sixteen-year-old Sam had a basketball tournament and mom Jeanine spent the Mother’s Day weekend cheering from the stands.

Sam went out with friends at night and the typical weekend turned into the worst she’s ever had.

“He played band, he was in honors programs at school, he was recognized for academic achievement,” said Motsay. “ He was also an athlete, so he was like a lot of kids in our communities that could be impacted by something as dangerous as NBOMe.”

NBOMe is a synthetic drug with effects similar to LSD or acid.

Motsay, a Center Grove sophomore, overdosed on the drug.

Motsay’s story is just one that will be shared Thursday night at a forum about drug and alcohol use in Hamilton County.

Hamilton County Sheriff Mark Bowen is hosting the free forum about heroin, illegal drugs and underage drinking at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds Thursday at 7 p.m.

“We’re always concerned that it could get worse and we want to take an aggressive approach and try to create this awareness program.”

Among the presenters will be a man who was arrested for involvement in a fatal drunk driving crash, a recovering heroin addict, law enforcement, and representatives from the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office and addiction treatment programs.

In recent years, Hamilton County has seen a steady rise in the number of drug arrests, overdoses and underage drinking incidents.

Drug overdose reports to the Sheriff’s Office have risen fourfold since 2010 and the number of drug possession arrests has seen an increase with nearly 60 arrests so far this year.

Similarly, arrests for driving under the influence of drugs have doubled in the past year.

Bowen says an indication of the underage drinking problem is reflected in the number of arrests for illegal consumption.

In 2013, more than 600 arrests were made in Hamilton County for minor consumption of alcohol and 2014 is on course to equal or surpass that number.

“We still have issues just like any other community across the country,” said Bowen. “It's troubling to see young folks experimenting with these types of drugs not knowing what the outcome might be.”

“I think the number one message that I have to share with what happened with us and with what happened with Sam is that people may think this isn't their kid, and they’re right, it’s not their kid. It’s what their kid doesn't know and it’s what we can share with kids and with parents and with the community,” said Motsay.