Char-Koosta News 

CheckDEC, an app to help attain 100 percent healthy, safe children, and families, as well as communities free of the negative impact of substance usage and drug activity, was developed after five years of discussion and discovery. The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (National DEC) provides the CheckDEC mobile app for free as part of a Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) grant.

On Wednesday, December 15, the CheckDec app was formally launched. A CheckDec Mobile App launch meeting was arranged to allow many people to learn and discuss the why behind the app, examine the features available, learn how to use the app, and understand how to promote it.

The National DEC trains children and families affected by parental or caregiver substance abuse to use early detection, reaction, and appropriate intervention services. National DEC provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary coalitions, communities, organizations, and individuals with access to their national resource center, training, and technical help.

The app provides local substance abuse resources, services, and assistance. Phone numbers, maps (geo-tagged to real-time resources in the user’s zip code), links, downloadable information, and videos are among the resources.

The app was created for three different target groups: People who have been personally affected; concerned individuals, family members or friends who wish to help themselves or others; and professionals and state, tribal, and local alliances — those who aid children and families in a professional position in their community.

The app’s community partners include the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Polson Police Department, as well as the Bristol County, MA Child Advocacy Center, who assisted in its development. Fox Valley Technical College: Learning Innovations, Big Ocean Media Group, Clear Focus Media, and Milani Consulting are among the other partners.

“Shout out to all of them for being wonderful partners; nothing would have been possible without them,” stated Eric Nation of National DEC.

Requests from networks for ways to identify resources, professionals seeking simple ways to access local and national resources, the National DEC wishing to conveniently link everyone to resources and information, and people asking, “Why doesn’t DEC have an app?” are some of the reasons for the creation of the app. Essentially, support and resources should be placed in the hands of app users.

A survey was done to determine the children’s, family’s, and professional’s needs. The survey’s findings influenced the app’s development and continue to do so. The survey, which included multiple choice and open-ended questions, took a significant amount of time to complete. The survey received 1,123 responses, with significant takeaways. 

Surveys were distributed to professionals, and 633 responses were received. A number of replies came from youth as well. A large proportion of the youth who replied rated highest in terms of requesting help with support at home, healthcare, access to mental health services, school help, and community connections.

Some of the replies from the youth include, “My mom used to do drugs and I understand what it’s like,” “I used to live with someone who drank a lot and I had to find help for me and my brothers, but they got better now,” and “I have seen a family member die from substance abuse misuse and use of substances. I would never want to see anyone else go through that.”

Visitors to the app can submit their own true-life story, word of hope, or support in the form of a video or text message. This peer sharing will motivate and inspire others to have hope as they change their life’s paths.

Even while the app is not a physical office or person to whom you can turn when you need help, it is a resource you may use whenever and wherever you have access to the app. 

• To acquire access, download the CheckDec app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store for free. CheckDEC’s phase 2 will begin in 2022, with expanded material, tools, and training.

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