EDITORIAL: Meth madness
The Lufkin Daily News
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Methamphetamine use in Angelina County is running “rampant,” says the executive director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas.
And Phyllis Grandgeorge has the number to back her statement: The number of meth addicts visiting the drug abuse council is up 150 percent since 2003.
That's scary because in 2003 we already knew meth use was a huge problem in our community. And local law enforcement officials have been busting hundreds of meth labs — which aren't hard to set up — in just the past couple years.
What is becoming more and more clear is the fact that, if we want to curtail or eliminate meth manufacture and use in Angelina County, it's going to take a concerted effort from all of us.
ADAC on Thursday hosted an education conference to let more than 200 people — children's advocates, substance abuse counselors, educators, law enforcement officers, probation officers and others — know more about methamphetamine abuse and recovery.
It seems that some of our citizens who, in particular, need training are ministers and counselors at our churches. Vallie Cross, an ADAC official who spoke on the issue Thursday, said many addicts are more than willing to participate in faith-based recovery — “They have seen hell already,” she said — but often ministers don't know how to handle people who are under meth's spell.
“Things are moving pretty fast, and pastors don't know what to do,” Cross said.
Meth is making foster children out of an untold number of kids whose parents are addicts, so there's also a need for people to counsel and support those children. Most of those kids have been neglected if not abused, according to Grandgeorge.
We are glad to see so many people working together to respond to the meth crisis in Angelina County, but more of us — especially those of us, like church and school leaders, who come in contact with young people on a regular basis — need to take the initiative to recognize signs of meth abuse and production.
And we really need to become better equipped to help meth addicts navigate the road to recovery, and to help children rebound from the obstacles they face from having parents who are meth addicts.
To contact the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas, call 634-5753 in Lufkin or (800) 445-8562.
Personally, I like the idea of the churches stepping up to the plate and perhaps opening up their homes to take in children who are victims of meth abuse. These children are falling through the cracks as the foster care system in our country is stretched to the limit! What do you think? Kim