This is dedicated to Travis Holappa who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered on July 25, 2004 in Northern Minnesota. This was all due to meth. I am Travis' mother and I wish to make this devastation turn into a better thing by educating and exposing the truth about meth, the dangers, and the deadly consequences it brings about to individuals and communities.

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Location: Colorado, United States

I want to do what I can to educate people about what is going on around the world with the meth problem. I want people to know about it BEFORE they even get the idea to want to try it. It is a dangerous drug and will ruin your life as well as all those who love you. I am on a mission on behalf of my only son, Travis.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cassie's mom talks to Lead-Deadwood parents about meth

BY DONNA SMITH, Black Hills Pioneer January 27, 2006

LEAD-DEADWOOD --More than 500 people gathered in the Lead-Deadwood High school auditorium on Wednesday evening to hear Cassie's mom. What they heard was not the recounting of a far-away story of drug abuse and degradation happening in a broken, dysfunctional family.

The story of Cassie Haydal is remarkable because of how easily it could happen to any one of our families. "We prayed together, went to church together and we loved each other," Cassie's mom told the crowd during her 12th session in the Northern Hills over the past three weeks.

Mary Haydal, of Miles City, Mont., buried her 18-year-old daughter, Cassie, after the teen suffered a massive heart attack attributable to her meth use. Since that time, Haydal has turned her energy toward meth education.

The auditorium was silent as the petite, polished but powerful Haydal wound her way for the umpteenth time through the horrific story of Cassie's final days on earth. The healing balm that is Haydal's life work seems to reach into her audience in some very special ways.

Lance Palmer, 11, is a student at Lead-Deadwood Elementary School. With wide eyes and a somber tone, he said, "It was really sad, and it made me really think." He also acknowledged that through this week's presentations he has been learning a lot about the use and abuse of drugs that he didn't already learn through other school-related programs.

Haydal also challenged parents and concerned adults to think twice about allowing or even sponsoring alcohol parties where teens often get into bigger trouble. "I understand some people say they'd rather have the kids drinking at home ... But that's wrong," Haydal said.

Teens at alcohol parties may suffer alcohol poisoning, date rape or even stepping up into more serious drug use - "all while you are sitting nearby in your recliner with the remote control," Haydal said. She added the alcohol is the number one killer of American teens. "When you give your children alcohol, it causes brain damage."

She also urged parents to understand the possible legal consequences to hosting teen alcohol parties even if they do not find themselves persuaded by the possible health implications.

Special agents from the Rapid City office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency also participated in Wednesday evening's presentation. The audience learned that most of the drugs coming into our area come from Denver, Salt Lake City, California, Oregon and Washington. The agents also said that marijuana is the most abused illegal drug nationally and in our area, but that it is followed closely by meth use and abuse. The "club drug" MBMA or Ecstasy comes in third.

Parents might also be surprised to learn, the drug agents said, that raves or drug parties do happen in our area and often children will ask permission to attend by explaining "it's a non-alcoholic, dance party for teens" so that parents will not object.

The evening closed with parents and kids able to talk with Haydal or the drug agents and view more information on drugs.

Young Lance's mom, Deb Palmer of Lead, said she came to the event because, "It's alarming."

┬ęThe Black Hills Pioneer, Newspapers, South Dakota, SD 2006


Blogger Amanda Barnard said...

I was a friend of Cassie's. While we were not close, she was in my class, we went to the same church, and my best friend's little sister was on the basketball team that she taught. Cassie was an extremely talented athlete, a rare beauty, and a nice person. Her death was a great loss. To all students, parents, and neighbors out there that do not think that drug use will affect your life, you are sadly mistaken! I am currently attending Montana State University Bozeman, and am chosing a research project for this semester. I would like to research meth use in our school systems, so if anyone knows of academic research in this field that could help, please e-mail me at Meth does not just affect the user, and meth users are not just the scabby teens on the posters.

Thursday, February 08, 2007 10:56:00 AM  

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