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April 25, 2018 10:00 PM

Helping Others Find The Red Road

Crime on the Rosebud reservation has spiked in recent years and it all points back to one thing -- Meth. 

The drug that has become all to familiar on the reservation. KELOLAND News talked with reservation officials about the steps they're taking to help tribal members stay away from this highly addictive and dangerous drug. 

"It's everywhere, it's affecting everybody. One way or another. My family, your family, my brother's family. It's attached to everybody," said Rosebud special agent Matt Tucker. 

Meth has blazed a path onto the Rosebud reservation and it doesn't look like it will go away anytime soon. 

"We always knew that it was here, it was coming but I guess we weren't aware of the degree of the problem we have here," said Rosebud Tribal President William Kindle. 

"The reservation is definitely a breeding ground for substance abuse," said special agent Mark Kettell. 

Right now, 60 percent of the inmates at the Rosebud adult correctional facility have meth related arrests. 

"The cases that we investigate in criminal investigations including like, burglaries, sexual assault, assaults, those crimes have definitely increased because of methamphetamine use," said supervisor special agent Robert Sedlmajer. 

The Rosebud criminal investigations team and police have recently seen a spike in burglaries around the reservation. 

"That's the problem is that, they're finding ways to supply their addiction or get money for that addiction and that's the problem we're running into right now," said Rosebud police officer Iver Crow Eagle. 

Special agent Robert Sedlmajer says when a meth addict is caught, it's more than just an arrest. 

"A lot of times the people are crying for help. They're asking for help," said Sedlmajer. 

Time behind bars is one way to kick the habit.  

"We have programs here that try to help them here too," said Luke Black Bear. 

Luke Black Bear is a captain at the correctional facility.  He sees a lot of inmates who are addicted.

"It takes a few weeks for them to come off the drug and during that few weeks, they're dangerous. Kind of unpredictable guys," said Black Bear. 

Which is why these rooms are needed. 

"This is our security dump cell. We hold a lot of our inmates who are really combative."

Black Bear says he's been seeing a lot of repeat offenders. 

"I think it's the treatment, the aftercare is what causes them to come back in because as soon as they get right back out of jail it's the same crowd same people and you know, it's just available," said Black Bear. 

Rosebud has a meth rehabilitation program as well.

"I would say 100 percent of the people who voluntarily walk in and said 'help me, I'm a meth addict' leave within 30 days," said Meth Rehabilitation program supervisor Ed Parsells. 

Ed Parsells has been working with tribal rehab programs for more than two decades.

"One of the phenomena that we've noticed is some of our severe, chronic, alcoholics long-term alcohol, chronic, chronic, will get introduced to meth and they will quit drinking," said Parsells. 

Swapping one addiction for the other creates another barrier for staff at the treatment center. 

"You have all the thinking errors and for long-term addiction and now you put meth addiction on top of that, that's part of the reason why we need long-term treatment," said Parsells. 

Right now the program is only funded by the tribe for three years and Rosebud President William Kindle says finding additional funds has been tough. 

"I can't tell you how many millions of dollars it's going to take and it's going to take a lot of years," said Kindle. 

Other tribes are also working to come up with a solution because meth isn't just a problem in Rosebud. 

"Probably for the last three or four years all over Indian country and some of the other reservations it's been continually increasing," said Parcells. 

"We're working closely with the Winnebago tribe now. I understand they have a facility down there that would work for this rehab," said Kindle. 

The tribe has gotten a few small federal grants and created a drug task force but the meth isn't going anywhere. 

"We have a few people here that know how to manufacture it but I think the Mexican cartels are probably supplying the greatest number of it,' said Kindle. 

The tribe is only scratching the surface of a drug problem that now has deep roots on South Dakota's reservations.

"I think some of them cartels think of the reservations as having a little bit weaker court system. Some of the sentences that they do hand out for it is not near what they should be," said Kindle. 

"The substance abuse, all the crimes that are committed amongst our own people even with each other, take a population like that, lack of hope, yeah, it's a breeding ground for addiction," said Kettle. 

A population that will need to work together to battle and overcome a dangerous addition.

President Kindle says they're working on making jail sentences longer and raising the amount of money it takes to get out on bail. 

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