Weekly County Spotlight - Dawson County
Population as of the 2010 census: 13,833
County Seat: Lamesa
Population of Lamesa: 9,422 (68%)
Lamesa Police Department: 806-872-2121
Dawson County is a sparsely populated county in northwest Texas. This county constitutes the northernmost border of the Permian Basin Regional Council on Drug Abuse and Alcohol’s coverage area. The population of Dawson County as of the 2010 census was 13,833. This constitutes approximately 0.06% of the population of the State of Texas. Lamesa is the largest city in Dawson county and is the county seat. The City of Lamesa contains approximately 68% of the population of Dawson County at 9,422 individuals. Results from the 2017 Regional Needs Assessment indicate that almost half of Dawson County’s crimes are drug offenses. While 108 incidences seems small in the overall picture, it remains clear that drug offenses comprise a large portion of the crimes committed in Dawson County. It’s also important to realize that these numbers only reflect the offenses which are processed by the criminal court. This does not include any arrests that are made where the charges are dismissed.
Because this county is small, rural, and sparsely populated, resources devoted to prosecuting, preventing, and treating alcohol and drug addiction are very limited. There is no facility in Dawson County offering services for drug, alcohol, or mental health issues that we could find. This means that for any residents of the county to receive services, they must travel to Midland, Ector, Lubbock, or Howard County. The distance to the nearest of these options is about 45 miles. Therefore, any residents seeking services must drive an hour each way to receive treatment.
In areas where treatment resources are scarce, the role of prevention becomes even more important. So, how can adults, parents, teachers (etc.) help their kids from becoming involved with drugs and alcohol? We have a few recommendations!
Talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol. Don’t think that by talking to kids you are encouraging them! They should know that the adults in their life don’t approve of those choices. Data shows that as kids grow up, they are less likely to think their parents disapprove of their alcohol/drug use.
Remain aware. You may not be able to be in control of your child’s surroundings at all times. However, you can pay attention to them, their attitudes, and their friends. If you notice something different that worries you, speak up.
Teach your kids about the possible consequences and side effects. Let them know you are worried about their health and their future.
Model positive behavior. Refrain from drinking or doing drugs around kids. If you choose to drink, make healthy drinking decisions (i.e., one glass of wine with dinner) to model positive behavior for the kids in your life.
Keep them busy. Having positive social activities and chores to keep kids busy won’t allow them the free time to make bad decisions.
If you don’t know how to talk to your kids about drugs/alcohol, we can help. Here are some resources with tips, statistics, and information
How to talk to your kids about alcohol - https://www.socialhostodessa.com/talk-to-your-teens
Talking to your kids about marijuana - https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-parents-need-to-know/letter-to-parents
Facts about drugs - https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/factsheets.shtml
In addition, it is important to be constantly aware that drugs are always evolving, changing, and, often, becoming more dangerous. Stay up-to-date on the latest slang to be aware what the kids in your area are talking about. Here’s a website that can help you determine what your kids are talking about: https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/teen-drug-slang-dictionary-for-parents#1
The Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse is here to help. We are here to provide resources for individuals and families who have been touched by substance abuse. We are also here to help prevent future abuse through training, education, and disseminating data related to substance use. If you have any questions, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Region 9 Prevention Resource Center
Published May 7, 2018.