NCLL hosts forum on drug abuse in Upper Peninsula


Jackie Jahfetson

A local committee, with the help of a local law officer, will come together to discuss the demographics of drug abuse in the Upper Peninsula from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

The Northern Center for Lifelong Learning (NCLL) will host a discussion titled “Non-Prescription Drugs: Use and Abuse” where Michigan State Police detective Lt. Tim Sholander, will talk about the illegal use and sale of narcotics affecting the Upper Peninsula and the rest of the nation.

Sholander, who’s also the commander of the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET), will talk about the demographics of illegal drug use and what efforts UPSET is doing to resolve this growing issue, said Paula McCormick, board member and vice chair of NCLL.

With over 200 members, which includes a senior majority audience, the NCLL works to coordinate events and programs that are informative and educational, McCormick said. After attending a 10-week citizens academy last summer at the Michigan State Police Department in Negaunee and hearing Sholander speak about drug abuse, McCormick said his presentation was an eye opener and an issue that needed to be addressed.

“It’s become a local, state, national epidemic in terms of what’s going on throughout the surrounding community, and we have a lot of children and young people in harm’s way. I feel there’s a lot of pressure with the younger generation to be cool,” McCormick said.

With his level of experience in the field, Sholander knows how to present the facts on drug abuse and what UPSET is doing to resolve these issues as well as show others how to can detect signs of drug abuse, McCormick added.
“Sometimes people want to turn their face that they don’t notice something changing in their child or grandchild; they need to recognize that,” she said.

As a former teacher, it’s “disturbing” to see the demographics of drug abuse, she continued. For those who attend, Sholander’s presentation will “shed some light” on what’s affecting a lot of families in the Upper Peninsula and Marquette, she explained.

“I hope it educates people and opens their eyes as to what is going on that they don’t see,” McCormick said. “It’s educational, informative and it’ll be a good presentation.”

The presentation will be held in room 101B at the Superior Dome. The cost is $3 for NCLL members or $8 for non-members. Registration ends on Thursday, Feb. 1, but are encouraged to call the NCLL at (906) 227-2979 or Paula McCormick at (906) 228-5489 for vacant seats after the