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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Meth Meeting at hometown (USA - Virginia, Minnesota)

Meth effects, education are focus of public forum

Charles Ramsay

Editor at MMI

VIRGINIA, MN — By one estimate, St. Louis County taxpayers are already paying 10¢ of every dollar in property taxes on the methamphetamine scourge.

And, numbers underscoring the rise in meth use are startling: The number of cases relating to meth in northern St. Louis County is rising, about 72 percent higher in 2004 than in 2000, from 37 to 135.

Of 195 drug cases with charges brought by the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office in 2004, 135 were meth-related, according to figures from Sheriff Ross Litman. In Duluth and the county’s south, 215 cases with drug charges involved only 46 meth-related cases in 2003 (114 of 180 in the north, in 2003).

And, as Sixth District Court Judge Florey agreed Monday during a question-answer portion of a public forum on meth use in the area at the Miners Memorial, meth “is a drug that affects all ages,’’ with only small numbers prosecuted.

The extent of the drug’s use in northern St. Louis County, and educational efforts being planned for school districts by Iron Range Youth in Action, were food for thought at the forum organized by county Commissioner Keith Nelson, for a crowd of about 200 persons.

Meth is having a large impact on the county, “broader than any other drug we’ve encountered,’’ County Administrator Dana Frey told the audience.

The drug’s impact and cost to the county, and taxpayers, was estimated at about $8 million to $9 million in 2005, from surveying departments, Frey said: $4 million-$5 million in human services costs, including 1/3 of the out-of-home placements and 1/2 of detox treatment in meth; $550,000 in County Attorney’s Office costs; $1 million in jail costs just for inmates in meth related cases (including burglary and thefts), and about $900,000 annually in law enforcement costs just with the drug; and $1.2 million in related costs to Arrowhead Regional Corrections, including probation; and $200,000 in employee safety and education efforts.

One meth case prosecuted in Ramsey County racked up a cost of $140,000, from law enforcement and social services, to public defender, prosecution, court, probation, prison, chemical dependency treatment and environmental site cleanup, Frey said.

The county is responding with an approach involving prevention through education, enforcement with local, sheriff’s and statewide agencies, treatment, including drug court in the Duluth area, and mitigation of social impacts, among other things, he added.

St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman acknowledged the skyrocketing numbers of cases with meth, and that the “workload has increased dramatically in the last four-five years.’’

But he also saw some hope in enforcement: “I think we’re starting to turn the tide,’’ he told the crowd.

Two drug task forces, of 22 in the state, operate in the area, Boundary Waters in the north and Lake Superior in the south; four drug dogs have been added to the department; education and training efforts are ongoing with sheriff’s employees; and the Duluth-area drug court continues to be “an excellent, excellent option’’ and $15,000 less in costs of incarcerating a person who is in the program, in prison. The county’s Emergency Response Team is specially trained to handle meth situations and is available to cases around the region, Litman said.

Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Harkonen, of the Hibbing sheriff’s office and a commander of the response team, said that several team member who went into toxic meth-related sites suffered effects, and are “going to be dying a lot younger than they should.’’

Chris Ismil of Iron Range Youth in Action detailed educational efforts to be made in many Iron Range schools, including teacher materials and student workbooks aimed at grades 7-12 to be available by late summer or fall; a number of school assemblies are being planned as well as in-class speakers, some already who have visited school, he explained.

Youth wanting to try alcohol or marijuana can get drunk or high at a party or gathering, and then someone may offer some free “candy’’: The first time you take that, you’re toast,’’ Ismil said.

Curriculum being developed for the region probably is among the first in the state, and videos also will be available on scenarios, and testimonials from those affected, he added.

Pat Grahek, a chemical dependency counselor on the Range for 24 years, said he was “thrilled” to see the big turnout Monday, as “we need everybody in this fight.’’

Meth is made “out of junk you take from under your kitchen sink,’’ having powerful psychological, emotional and physical effects that can cause an otherwise-healthy person starting it to deteriorate quickly. “It’s a terrible thing to see someone destroyed by this drug,’’ Grahek said.

While insurance companies may not cover treatment, which is needed a lot longer for a meth addict, the good news is that there are people who’ve become hooked on it who have gotten off it, he added.

An effective method for parents to use is to greet their teen child at the door on a Friday night, see if their pupils are dilated, give them a big hug — “and when you do that, inhale,’’ Grahek said.


Blogger eric said...


You are uniquely qualified to give voice to this problem. Please keep blogging!


Wednesday, August 09, 2006 3:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was facing addiction and wanted to go to a wilderness treatment center. These guys are the best and the really know how to help a person grow.

Thursday, January 20, 2011 12:42:00 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

For over 10 years I was an addict and needed treatment alcohol rehab help. When I got the help I needed, I could start living my life again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 2:02:00 AM  

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