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.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Laurel policeman spells out the ravages of methamphetamine

The following message is from Officer Erin Popp of the Laurel Police Department. Popp is the School Resource Officer for Laurel Middle School and the Laurel elementary schools and serves the community of Laurel as a patrol officer.

“Kathryn Woodward from the Yellowstone City-County Health Department will give a presentation on Methamphetamine (aka: ‘meth,' ‘crank,' ‘crystal,' ‘speed') on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 6 pm., in the Laurel High School Auditorium. This presentation is open to anyone and everyone from our community and surrounding communities, and it is free. This is an excellent opportunity for members of our community to learn more about this dangerous and highly addictive drug.

“My concern is that some members of our community believe methamphetamine is not something they need to worry about. Some may believe methamphetamine is not here in the Laurel/Billings area. Some may believe it is only a concern for parents of high school age students as teenagers are the only users.

“As a police officer in Laurel, I have first hand knowledge that methamphetamine is here in Laurel. In the last several years, the Laurel Police Department has made numerous arrests for methamphetamine possession, distribution, and possession of methamphetamine paraphernalia.

“Methamphetamine trafficking and usage is on the rise in our community. This is due, in part, to its highly addictive nature and the fact it is readily available if you want it. Why is it readily available? Methamphetamine is relatively easy to produce and the ingredients needed to make it can be bought at local stores. It can be made in homes, garages, crawl spaces, cars, hotel rooms, anywhere.

“Methamphetamine is a concern for parents of high school and middle school aged youth because they are, in general, at a high risk to use drugs. Teens are more independent, engage in more unsupervised activities, are more susceptible to peer-pressure, etc. So, of course, all parents of teenagers should attend this presentation.

“You might be surprised, however, to learn that many users are not teenagers, but adults with jobs and families. Some are even grandparents. A shocking trend reported across the United States is mothers using methamphetamine to give them more energy. They find their lives are extremely busy and they use the drug to get more done in their day. Also reported are males and females, adults and teenagers, using methamphetamine to help them lose weight. Being thin is more important to them than the horrible physical, mental, and emotional side effects caused by methamphetamine use that threaten their lives.

“What about elementary school age students? Their use may not be your concern, but their health and safety should be. How do you know if your second-grade child is visiting a friend whose family member “cooks” methamphetamine in their home? It can be difficult to tell unless you educate yourself and have the type of information Mrs. Woodward will present.

“If you do not have children or have very young children, why should you be concerned?

“€ Methamphetamine ‘labs' are extremely dangerous!

“€ Methamphetamine is “cooked” using a heat source such as an open flame and flammable chemicals.

“€ Methamphetamine labs can blow at any moment, leveling a house and damaging properties near them.

“€ Methamphetamine labs are also incredibly toxic. By just being in a home with a lab, you could be exposed to harmful chemicals and toxins. Methamphetamine production also produces a large amount of toxic waste material.

“€ Many methamphetamine “cooks” dump this waste in other people's dumpsters, in alleys, or on other people's property. The scary but very real fact is, at this moment, methamphetamine may be being produced in your neighborhood. You could be in danger and not realize it.

“Another fact some Laurel citizens find surprising is that many, many crimes like theft, burglary, assault, or disorderly conduct, are directly related to methamphetamine use. So, you may not think methamphetamine will affect you, but you could be the victim of crime driven by its usage. Methamphetamine is so addictive it often drives users to steal property from others to pawn for money. Methamphetamine users can be very paranoid and violent which has lead to assaults or fights.

“Sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and AIDS are on the rise in those who use methamphetamine. This is due to the fact some users engage in unprotected sex while high, and some share needles to inject the drug. We are also aware that some users need the drug so badly they are engaging in unprotected sex with dealers as payment for the drug, or engaging in prostitution for money to buy it. This seems to be most prevalent with young females as they cannot always afford the cost of their high.

“This message is not meant to scare anyone, just open some eyes to reality. I am so concerned about methamphetamine in our community and the destruction it causes because I see it first hand. Chances are you've seen it too.

“Law enforcement is working everyday to stop those manufacturing, selling, and using methamphetamine. You can help too. And we want your help. Educate yourself and those around you about the signs of methamphetamine production and use. Many arrests are a result of citizen tips and information. You can also educate others about the dangers of methamphetamine use. You never know when you may have the opportunity to discourage someone from using.

“Please consider attending Thursday's presentation and encourage everyone you know to attend. We all must work together to stop the production, the distribution, and the use of methamphetamine in our community.”


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