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Domestic violence summit to focus on meth issues

Domestic violence has many causes, but its connection with methamphetamine will be the focus of the fifth annual Kitsap County Domestic Violence Summit.The summit is scheduled for 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Crossroads Neighborhood Church, 7555 Old Military Road near Silverdale.Cost to attend is $25.The Kitsap County Domestic Violence Task Force is teaming up with the Substance Abuse Prevention Association to sponsor this year's summit, said Cheryl Graf, chairwoman of the task force's board of directors.We're really trying to address the issue this year in Kitsap County, Graf said. The prosecutor's office (said) meth use is up, and relationship of domestic violence as well. There is a correlation.Meth is incredibly addictive and very toxic. People get addicted, it infiltrates their lives. They can't hold down jobs, spend incredible amounts of money to get it, and the stresses born can create a downward cycle into domestic violence, Graf said. The user puts the family at risk.The summit's keynote speaker, Dr. S. Alex Stalcup, works on drug treatment and chemical dependency issues. He'll talk about how people get addicted to meth, what it does to the brain, and treatment and programs for addicts.Patty Bland from the New Beginnings organization will talk about chemical dependency and domestic violence treatment, and how they're connected.Other speakers will include Sgt. Dave Dewey from the Methamphetamine Unit of the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.Pierce County has so many meth crimes it has its own meth unit, Graf said. (Dewey) will talk about how meth investigations are done.The insidious effects of methamphetamine reaches into the area of housing as well. The drug's toxic nature sometimes means domestic violence victims can't live in their homes.A panel discussion of members of the local faith community will examine lack of housing for domestic violence victims and innovative ways to combat this situation.It's an issue for apartment owners and landlords. If a renter sets up a meth lab, it destroys property, Graf said. The substance gets into the building materials, and the only remedy is to bulldoze it, she said.Another area to be addressed this year is immigration, and the impact of domestic violence in other cultures.In some cultures tradition and religion play a very huge part, said Graf. Some families try to keep (domestic violence) as quiet as possible.She also noted the need to be aware of other culture traditions, such as those of the Middle East.In those cultures the man really is head of the house, and to address the woman is disrespectful, she said.Lupita Patterson of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence will speak about immigration issues.I'm glad we're doing something on immigration and other cultures, Graf said. We need to be constantly reminded of what life is like for other people.For more information or to register for the fifth annual Domestic Violence Summit, call 479-5392, visit www.kcdvtf.org or e-mail to kcdvtf@silverlink.net.

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