Methamphetamine is a growing problem in Kosciusko County and its tragic addiction is a problem facing many other communities across the country as well.
Methamphetamine acts specifically on the sympathetic nervous system causing increased release of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. This increase in norepinephrine accelerates the heart rate, constricts blood vessels, and raises blood pressure and can ultimately lead to death.
It is hard for many to understand why someone would take that first hit of something so dangerous and deadly. For some, it may just be a way to temporarily escape from day to day problems but, once addicted, they will continue to use.
Not only does the fear of facing life sober keep many of them from quitting, the painful effects of withdrawl are also a factor. In Kosciusko County, there are currently no real programs in place to help drug offenders, according to Tracy Landis, but through her non-profit pit bull rescue, known as Second Chance Abuse Recovery Services, or S.C.A.R.S. Pit Bull Rescue, she is seeking to change that.Landis, president/owner of S.C.A.R.S., said, “Society looks at drug addicts as social outcasts. The pit bull faces this same stigma. Not all addicts are ‘bad’ the same as not all pit bulls are ‘bad.’ Addicts need help, plain and simple. Some of the pit bulls that come into the rescue also need help.”
S.C.A.R.S. would like to initiate a program for first time drug offenders in which the offender is matched with a dog in need for an 8-week period. As the offender begins a new life and learns to cope with society, he or she will spend time with their partner dog at the rescue to learn obedience, socialization and basic dog manners to prepare the dog for its Canine Good Citizen test.
“This will not only make the dogs more adoptable, but it will also give the offender a sense of accomplishment and pride in doing something good,” said Landis.
According to her, there are many prisons in the country that have had tremendous success with programs using rescued dogs and prisoners. “It’s a win-win situation for the offender and the dog. The unconditional love the dog gives their owner/handler is something those facing addiction may have never experienced, and the love and affection the dog receives in return is something they may have never experienced,” said Landis. “Some of the pit bulls that have come into the rescue have suffered unimaginable abuse. But they are a very loving, loyal and resilient breed and can overcome their past. Recovering addicts can relate to that. Our goal is to change society’s perception of the pit bull breed and the recovering addict.”
S.C.A.R.S. Pit Bull Rescue is currently a registered Indiana non-profit corporation and is in the process of obtaining its 501c3 non-profit status. Its mission is to build a no-kill sanctuary for the dogs that would otherwise be put to sleep, and give them, along with the recovering addict, a new, fresh lease on life.
S.C.A.R.S. is currently looking for a location to build the sanctuary. As a non-profit rescue it relies on donations and sponsors and welcomes any and all donations.