During the past year, the Montana State Elks Association Drug Awareness Program strived to teach teens and parents about the dangers of illegal drug use and prevent the abuse of legalized and prescription drugs throughout Montana.

In 2018, we partnered with the Drug Enforcement Agency to disseminate current and relevant drug information on underage drinking, vaping, prescription drug misuse, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, and drug-impaired driving.

Our community outreach included participation in the Amen Bozeman Free Clinic, Bozeman Health Annual Health Fair, Bozeman International Film Festival, National Night Out in Bozeman, Belgrade Fall Festival, Manhattan Potato Festival, Big Sky State Games in Billings, DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days in Livingston, and Tri-County Fair in Deer Lodge.

This year we recognized Kelly Parker-Watne, coordinator of the Gallatin County DUI Task Force and presented her with the “Enrique Camarena-What Heroes Do” Coin for her exemplary outreach to high school students in Gallatin County on underage drinking, impaired driving, and making responsible choices.

We also presented the Elks Drug Awareness Program Commendation Award to Rowen Schuler, director of Community Medical Services, in grateful appreciation for her meritorious participation at the Bozeman International Film Festival, and DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days at the Gallatin County Law & Justice Center.

And most recently, Bozeman Elks Lodge presented an engraved plague to Montana State University Police Department recognizing their continuing commitment and dedication for the students and staff of Montana State University through drug awareness and prevention education.

Elks believe that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. With that in mind, the Elks Drug Awareness Program reaches out to youth of all ages and backgrounds. Through the 2,100 Lodges in communities across the country, Elks work to combat youth substance abuse.

Rick Gale