SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Ketchikan's troubled youth
By Renee Tacker


February 22, 2006
Wednesday AM

Thank you so much Kayleigh Martin for having the courage to stand up and talk about the issue of Ketchikan's troubled youth. You have been here all of your life, so you know how it is, you are young and energetic, and apparently quite valiantly fighting this battle with what you fear may be poorly inadequate ammunition. I applaud you for calling for help.

You are dealing with the teens and very young adults of our community who have gotten their hands on illegal drugs, who sleep all day because those drugs keep them awake at night, running around the streets of Ketchikan, while the rest of us are trying to sleep. I can see that you, as do I, want to know where the hell these drugs are coming from, how our children are getting their hands on them, and even more importantly, what we can do with these kids to make them happy enough to not care about blowing their minds apart at all. You want them to want to live, it is so evident in your letter.

You are noticing that some of these children are very young--- twelve, thirteen, even younger. Understandably, you are scared for them. Mrs. Streitmatter is correct in her assertion that young teens should not be left to their own devices...they are notorious for making bad choices, it is a fact of life. Not all of them make bad choices; there are, of course, kids everywhere who seem to be born with a natural tendency to be agreeable at all times. There are also kids everywhere, absolutely everywhere, who are going to make some mistakes. The problem is that youthful mistakes today can be deadly, irreversible, irretrievable, destroying us with pain and the loss of our dreamed-of future.

Oxycontin and methamphetamine are here, in Southeast, on Revilla, available to our youth. They are bad choices. Unfortunately, once the bad choice is made, it becomes virtually impossible for people under the influence of these drugs to recognize any other path.

That is the battleground that you're standing on, Kayleigh.

More and more reports are coming in that entire communities down south are being wiped out by these debilitating drugs. Devastation abounds. Take a few moments to read about it, if this is news to any of you. I keep hearing it's a "down south" thing, that they have this problem because they are down south and that's what happens down there, but our niece so-and-so, our kid, this or that specific kid, is doing fine here. No problem. Hello!!! Neighbors!!! Let's talk!!! It's here, on Revilla, it's happening all over the world, and we cannot now ignore that it is happening to us. Listen to Kayleigh!! She is one of your own, in the trenches, yelling for help. Godspeed to her. I say this: we are on an ISLAND.

Maybe we have a better chance of saving our kids than other communities do. Of saving our future. While we are arguing about wars which we cannot seem to agree about overseas, we must fight this devil of an enemy that is running around under our very noses, here at home.

We can stand up and find out where these drugs are coming from. We can thank every single one of our law enforcement officials who are battling this epidemic daily. Ask THEM. They are constant witnesses to the ruination of young lives. We need to listen to them. And to the children. They ARE telling us, when we listen, aren't they, Kayleigh? We must include in all agendas an outline of the problem, and the measures that we can take to fix it.

It must be discussed.

We musn't argue about which branch of the political body here should address the problem, and where. ALL OF US HAVE TO ADDRESS IT. IT SHOULD BE ON ALL AGENDAS, EVERY TIME. It's bound to be a slow process, and it is horribly possible that we may not be able to help the kids and very young adults who have already fallen prey to these drugs.

We mustn't lose any more children while we debate.

These kids have little brothers and sisters, and if we act fast we can catch up with the problem in time to save the very little ones.

Kayleigh, the reason why people are debating the bridge, and the various improvements and disprovements to our community, is because they are valid concerns. They are very important issues that will greatly affect our economic future. We want to be able to remain in Southeast, to live and work here, because we love it so.

We should remember to be grateful to those who, by arguing these issues, are looking out for our economic future. Those that do have children, that know children, that have grandchildren affected by other children, those people whose parents or grandparents sacrificed so much to carve paths for these children, those who acknowledge that we are all affected by the children, those are the people that need to be counted,
and to do some counting.

The first step in finding a solution is to define the problem.

We should beg those who are currently holding political seats here to research this problem, to ask questions, to visit any and all available programs, public or private, and find out what is going on. To make a list of all available alternatives for our youth, the reasons why they are in place, and trace those reasons to the roots.

Analyze it, just as we would a bridge project, a dock expansion, or a bad construction deal.

What Kayleigh is saying is that these drugs are HERE, NOW.

Anyone who thinks that these drugs haven't affected their own particular life yet needs to look again at the meaning of the word "community"... These drugs are so bad that you can bet that this issue is coming to a child or young adult near you soon. These drugs are THAT BAD and our youth need help. Now.

Thank you so much, Kayleigh, from the bottom of my heart, for being someone that they can count on.

Renee Tacker
E-mail: reneetacker[at]
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: "Renee has been in Ketchikan for two years. She is the wife of Troy Tacker, a superintendant at Alaska Ship and Drydock. Troy and Renee enjoy living in Ketchikan, would like to stay, and have met many fantastic people here on Revilla whom they proudly consider friends. In their free time they like to hike and camp with their kids, grateful to have the opportunity to raise their children in such a beautiful environment."

Related Viewpoint:

letter Wake Up By Kayleigh Martin - Ketchikan, AK - USA



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