Karidat: 30 pct. of families at shelter directly related to ‘ice’ abuse


Out of the 65 families that have been sheltered at Karidat Social Services’ Guma Esperansa this year, 30 percent of the cases were directly related to methamphetamine or “ice” abuse, according to Karidat counselor Elaine C. Dela Cruz.

A total of 65 families were taken in by Guma Esperansa from January to mid-July this calendar year, and that 103 of those were children, Dela Cruz said.

The Karidat counselor said out of the 103 children that they served, 53 or 51 percent were directly affected by this drug problem.

Dela Cruz discussed their services at the shelter during the first CNMI Drug Court Stakeholders Presentation co-hosted by the Office of the Governor and CNMI Judiciary at Fiesta Resort and Spa’s Hibiscus Hall on Tuesday.

Guma Esperansa (House of Justice) is a shelter for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and dating violence.

Dela Cruz said those who go to the shelter are oftentimes people distancing themselves from drug users.

She disclosed, however, that they have started to see a trend where the victims who come their way are also drug users.

Dela Cruz said perpetrators would use scare tactics if victims call the police, saying they (victims) would be arrested too because they are also drug users.

For some nonresident victims, Dela Cruz said, the perpetrators would tell them that if they call the police, then they would be deported because they are illegal as they’re not supposed to work.

“We have seen an increase in the number of families affected by “ice” in particular,” she said.

Dela Cruz said they believe in recovery and second chances. “If we didn’t we would not be in this field. …We are in the business to give them hope, to help them rebuild.”

She said when victims come their way they have to stabilize the situation with crisis intervention.

At the time, Dela Cruz said, adrenaline is still running as victims are still trying to call the police.

“We try to stabilize the situation, stabilize the mom, stabilize the children,” she said.

Dela Cruz said they believe at Guma Esperansa that if the victims can get a good night sleep, things would look a bit different in the morning.

She said they also offer court advocacy because sometimes the victims need a temporary restraining order.

The counselor said they help the victims identify different support services because it’s really important, especially for those who are not from the CNMI and know no one.

“We do the best we can because there is always hope,” she said.

Dela Cruz said they support the drug court.

“If the drug court can help the perpetrators and help them change their behavior and their thinking, and we have the moms and the kids and we work with them, I think potentially that really would have a wonderful outcome,” she said.

The counselor added that they look forward to a strong collaboration with the CNMI Drug Court.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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