Click photo to enlarge
SUBMITTED Pioneer and founder of the Butte County Drug
Endangered Children¹s Program (DEC), Sue Webber-Brown, of
Oroville met with President George Bush in Washington D.C.
and founder of the Drug Endangered Children's program, Sue
Webber-Brown, was recently invited to meet with President
She is one of 12 people who received a special invitation
to speak to the president about their work in drug prevention
President Bush hosted meetings on "Teen Drug Use" on Dec.
11, and he had a press conference in the Eisenhower Executive
Office Building next to White House concerning the results of
the "Monitoring the Future" study conducted by the University
There were about 60-70 reporters from around the world in
attendance when President Bush announced the results of the
teen drug abuse survey that showed a 24 percent reduction in
This 2007 Study surveyed 48,025 8th, 10th, and 12th graders
in a nationally representative sample of 403 public and
Webber-Brown, a Butte County District Attorney
Investigator, was invited to the press conference and to have
a personal meeting with the president to discuss her work.
The background information sheet on Webber-Brown provided
to President Bush said she has been working for the past 15
years protecting children, who are physically and emotionally
endangered by the illicit drug trade.
"During her service as a narcotics detective, Sue
Webber-Brown participated in more than 2,000 investigations
and has rescued over 1,900 children from hazardous homes where
drugs were used, sold, or manufactured. Webber-Brown is
responsible for the development and success of the 'Drug
Endangered Children's' (DEC) program, the first program of its
kind developed and implemented nationwide to rescue children
from the neglect, violence, and physical harm prevalent in
homes where drugs particularly methamphetamine are
manufactured and/or used. Webber-Brown has provided DEC
training to over 24,000 law enforcement officers in 23 other
states," the background sheet read.
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, who hired
Webber-Brown and has supported the DEC program, said he was
surprised and delighted to hear the news that Webber-Brown was
invited to meet President Bush.
"I was so proud of this recognition of her work with the
DEC program on a national level, and having the President's
acknowledgment of Sue's work in saving children and bringing
down drug abuse," Ramsey said.
DEC involves a multiple-discipline response to rescue
children from substance abuse environments.
"Our motto for the alliance is 'Rescue, Defend, Shelter,
and Support Drug Endangered Children,'" Webber-Brown said.
"There are now both national and international alliances for
the Drug Endangered Children's program now."
Webber-Brown drew upon her experience as a law enforcement
officer and as a mother in her work helping children.
"I knew we weren't doing the right things and changes had
to be made. And, there are still a lot of children today
living in drug homes we are not taking care of," she said.
When she was first informed the president wanted to talk to
her, she didn't know what to think. "I wondered which
president of what organization?" Webber-Brown said with a
chuckle. She was very excited when she was assured the
President of the United States was the one wanting to have a
meeting with her.
"It was a huge honor," she said. "At first, I didn't
believe it was really the White House calling."
Webber-Brown described her meeting with the President:
"President Bush shook our hands and was very kind and
expressed appreciation for our work," she said. "He spoke
about the importance of individuals coming together in the
community to make a difference."
What was her message to President Bush? "I spoke about the
personal tragedies of children and the DEC program and that I
believe the DEC program is a vital strategy and program to end
the cycle of substance abuse and violence," she said.
In Butte County, Webber-Brown has received about 15-20
referrals of children in need of support in just the last
couple of weeks. In 2006, DEC received 600 referrals to the
Butte County Narcotics Task Force (BINTF) concerning reports
of children in need of support.
Out of the 600 referrals about children, BINTF responds to
less than 100 children, Webber-Brown said, "There are children
living in chaotic lifestyles and they are witnessing violence
and suffering abuse. We have much better results if we can
save them early on, and identify the issues at an early
Webber-Brown also believes the DEC intervention helps
prevent domestic violence and substance abuse.
President Bush asked Webber-Brown what he and the
government should do to ensure children are protected. "I told
the president DEC should be part of the standard curriculum in
law enforcement academies across the country and also DEC
should be in the training curriculum for social services and
in curriculum for prosecuting attorneys," she said.
Webber-Brown said law enforcement officers are trained for
months in Field Training Officer programs, but often don't
learn about how to respond to DEC cases until much later.
"They should learn how to handle DEC cases right along with
how to investigate other types of cases, such as how to
investigate domestic violence cases," she said.
Also, she said social services needs law enforcement's
participation. "Social services cannot conduct parole or
probation searches or execute any search warrants and find out
if drug abuse is going on inside the home. Law enforcement
needs the training to work in partnership with social services
in helping the children," she said.
Webber-Brown would also like to see grant money for DEC
become tied to effective, measurable results, such as seeing
an increase in the number of children saved from drug homes,
Webber-Brown expressed appreciation to Scott Burns, Deputy
Director of the Office of State, Local, and Tribal Affairs and
John Walters, Director of the Office of National Drug Control
Webber-Brown met Burns in 2002 and discussed the DEC
program with him. "He is a huge supporter of DEC," she said.
During the President's press conference, the results of the
teen drug use survey were announced and a statement was made,
which read in part:
"In 2002, the President set a goal of reducing youth drug
use by 25 percent over five years. Since then, the
Administration has implemented a balanced strategy that
emphasizes prevention, treatment, and enforcement. Due to the
policies and programs implemented at the Federal, State, and
local levels, there are 860,000 fewer young people using drugs
today than there were in 2001 . . . As a result of the
balanced anti-drug strategies being implemented at the
Federal, State, and local levels, there are 860,000 fewer
young people using drugs today than there were in 2001."
According to the latest Monitoring the Future Study (MTF),
long-term trends of decreasing youth drug use have continued
from 2001 to 2007. Use of any illicit drug has dropped 24
percent; Marijuana use has decreased 25 percent; Steroid use
has dropped by a third; Ecstasy use is less than half of what
it was in 2001 (54 percent decline); Use of methamphetamine
has plummeted a staggering 64 percent; Use of alcohol,
including binge drinking, and cigarette smoking have decreased
by 15 and 33 percent, respectively.
There are still challenges that remain, according to the
MTF Study. Overall, youth prescription drug abuse is the
second largest category of abuse, only behind marijuana.
Past-year use of Oxycontin increased 30 percent between
2002-2007; Past-year use of Vicodin has not receded; Attitudes
toward Ecstasy use have softened with a 7 percent decrease in
perceived harmfulness of using Ecstasy occasionally; and a 4
percent decrease in perceived harmfulness of using Ecstasy.
For more information on the DEC program, see:
Those honored for working on the front lines in drug
prevention programs and who joined Oroville's Sue Webber-Brown
in receiving invitations to meet the President Bush, included:
Sheriff Tom Bosenko of Shasta County in Anderson, CA. From
April through July 2007, Sheriff Bosenko led an effective
effort to eradicate thousands of marijuana plants grown on
Justin Calderon of Riverside, CA. Calderon began using
drugs when he was 11 years old. At 18, he was addicted to
meth. A judge allowed him to go to Teen Challenge, a
faith-based residential treatment program, which allows him to
speak to at-risk teens about the dangers of substance abuse.
He plans to pursue a career helping at-risk children.
Darryl Coates, Executive Director, Philadelphia
Anti-Drug/Anti Violence Network (PAAN). Coates has led the
PAAN to become one of Philadelphia's most effective
community-based organizations working to reduce youth
substance abuse and violence.
Karen Engle, Executive Director, Operation UNITE (Unlawful
Narcotics Investigations Treatment and Education) from
Somerset, Kentucky. Operation UNITE provides substance abuse
education programs, youth leadership development, and
substance abuse counselors in middle and high schools.
Mallory Hamilton, Northland Coalition/Youth With Vision of
Liberty, MO. Mallory helps raise awareness of the dangers of
youth drug use and underage drinking through social marketing
campaigns. She opposed a retailer's practice of marketing
clothing to teens that contained images and messages condoning
drug and alcohol use. She also led efforts to prevent the
marketing of "alcopops," alcoholic energy drinks to teen
Sara Johnson of Farmington Hills, MI. Johnson started
using drugs and alcohol at the age of 12. Sara started
using marijuana and abused prescription drugs because she
heard they could help her concentrate in school and lose
weight. She began pawning items to get money and began using
Carole Lankford, Vice Chairwoman, Confederated Salish and
Kootenai Tribes of Pablo, MT. Lankford works to eliminate meth
production, trafficking, and use in Indian country. She
facilitates a partnership between the National Congress of
American Indians, the White House Office of National Drug
Control Policy, the U.S. Depart. of the Interior, the U.S.
Depart. of Health and Human Services, and the Partnership for
a Drug Free America to bring culturally relevant and effective
anti-meth messages to Indian country.
Joshua Lavarine, Jr., high school student in New Orleans.
In 1998, De La Salle High of New Orleans became one of the
first schools in the Nation to start random student drug
testing. Within one year, the rate of positive drug tests had
decreased by almost half. However, following Hurricane
Katrina, De La Salle was forced to suspend its random testing
program for several months as the city began to recover for
the storm. When testing resumed, school staff were shocked to
see the rate of positive tests had spiked to 8.4 percent.
Today, two years after the testing program was reinstated, the
rate of positive tests has fallen to only 1
Linda Leathers from Nashville, TN. Leathers helped
establish "The Next Door" in 2003 to meet the housing and
support service needs of women re-entering society after
crisis situations, such as drug addiction. Nearly 90 percent
of the women in the program have dependent children, so
Leathers started a program that focuses on family
reunification. The program, Freedom Recovery Community,
provides housing, counseling, mentoring, case management,
recovery support, workforce development, spiritual support,
and education for the women and children it serves. The Next
Door is part of the Tennessee Access to Recovery program, and
uses a voucher program served by both faith- and
Steve Pasierb, President and CEO, Partnership for a Drug
Free America (PDFA) from New York City. Pasierb helps leverage
the expertise of the Nation's ad agencies and the research to
produce science-based anti-drug ads in partnershp with the
National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.
Chris Steffner, High School principal from Flemington, New
Jersey. After starting random student drug testing at a high
school, none of the 740 students in the testing pool tested
positive during the 2005-2006 school year, demonstrating the
significant deterrent effect of random student drug