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.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Proposed anti-meth law a key victory for Alabama

I found an interesting article from a High school student. I thought you might like to read his thoughts on the meth epidemic. Kim

Article published Jan 3, 2006
MY TURN | Gregory Poole: Proposed anti-meth law a key victory for Alabama

Ice, peanut butter, lemon drop and cinnamon. All of these terms have something in common, but it’s not about eating.

They are street names used for methamphetamine, a dangerous drug that has finally caught the attention of many people in Congress across the nation and has prompted them to take action.

On Dec. 15, Congress (with bipartisan support) added a proviso -- the Combat Meth Epidemic Act of 2005 -- to the Patriot Act Conference Report that would put all medications containing ingredients key to the production of methamphetamine behind the counter in pharmacies across the United States.

Customers would have to sign a logbook and present identification to buy cold medicines such as Sudafed. In addition, consumers would be limited to purchasing only one box per day and no more than three boxes per month.

The overall goal is to limit the supply of pseudo ephedrine -- a key methamphetamine ingredient -- from those who produce it domestically.

However, many drug companies and regulators such as the Food and Drug Administration are strongly opposed to the proposed legislation. They hold that the bill would limit the amounts of cold and sinus medication available to cold sufferers this winter, thus exacerbating the symptoms of more than one billion colds suffered while only stopping 20 percent of domestic meth use.

“Showing a license or signing off on something is reasonable; but limiting people to cold medicines because of meth problems? That’s too far, especially during cold season," said Amber Daniels, senior class president at Brookwood High School. “You constantly have people with head colds, sinus congestion and sore throat that truly need it or parents whose children continuously stay sick. And if they only have a certain amount of medicine, then the kids could keep re-infecting themselves or other people."

Others opposing CMEA cite concerns about privacy and individual rights to purchase drugs that contain pseudo ephedrine.

“It’s not that I’m in disagreement with fighting the production of controlled substances; it’s in how we fight it," said Sheila Hocutt-Remington, a Brookwood High School government teacher. “Just because a few people choose not to do right and produce this drug doesn’t mean that all of us should have to suffer the consequences."

Methamphetamine is a hallucinogenic substance that causes dangerously high body temperatures, convulsions and destroys nerve cell endings.

Prolonged use can lead to hysteria and even death.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 0.3 percent of the U.S. population has used it within the last 30 days. With 226 million people aged 12 and up in the United States, this equates to 678,000 in the last month, with 100,000 of these being students.

Monitoring the Future surveys yield similar results. These are disturbing statistics because meth is so addictive (simply inhaling residual fumes can cause someone to become dependent).

It becomes more important, however, to see how CMEA may affect Alabama. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, methamphetamine has overtaken cocaine as Alabama’s most dangerous drug threat. In rural areas, methamphetamine competes heavily with marijuana as the primary drug. The number of rural meth labs discovered in this state reflects this fact.

This year, local, state and federal agencies seized 385 labs in Alabama, and of these, 25 had children living at the lab’s location. These numbers are among some of the highest in the southeastern United States, with Georgia having 261, Mississippi with 267 and Virginia with only 75 labs seized.

In a recent student survey by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8.6 percent of Alabama teenagers have used a form of methamphetamine in their lifetime, compared to 6.9 percent in Mississippi and 7.5 percent in Georgia.

Because of the absence of Alabamian laws regulating meth ingredients and effectively hindering its production, we are destroying the futures of many Alabamian children. Even if the proposal endorsed by Senators Bill Frist, Dianne Feinstein and Jim Talent reduced the number of users by only 20 percent, the CMEA would improve the lives of thousands of Americans, as well as Alabamians -- not only by saving their futures, but also by removing a burden on many of the welfare and law enforcement programs in the United States and Alabama.

Many others support reinforcing state anti-meth laws with congressional action. Tim Hammonds, President of the Food Marketing Institute, remarked during a press conference that, “We are most troubled that medicines from our very own supermarket shelves can be used to help make this lethal drug."

Many at Brookwood High School either agree with Hammonds’ viewpoint or were undecided.

Marcy Cruce, the health occupations instructor at BHS, said, “I don’t think they quota is a bad idea, but there will always be ways around it."

Josh Wade, a student at Brookwood High, explained that pseudo ephedrine should only be dispensed with a prescription, and also said he believes that hindering 20 percent of methamphetamine production is a start towards stopping the spread of the drug.

While there is a great conflict over the current proposal of restricting cold medicines, both sides agree that something needs to be done, even if meth production is only halted partially.

For the time being, though, the passage of this bill would deal a great blow to meth cookers in this nation. Moreover, CMEA would serve to provide a steppingstone for providing law enforcement officials the ability to prevent the smuggling and production of illicit drugs in the United States.

If signed into law, CMEA would enable drug enforcement officers to concentrate more on the issue of stopping the Mexican drug cartels that smuggle meth into this nation every day instead of having to focus its efforts toward rooting out domestic producers. The operations that will be undertaken will cost a lot of time and funding, since the cartels’ ways of trafficking the drugs will become ever more subtle and elusive, but the end results will be well worth the sacrifice.

Through this effort, we will attack a growing problem that threatens the lives of so many Americans, and so many Alabamians as well. We owe it to ourselves and to upcoming generations to make this legislation a resounding success, so the future of the United States will be one of a safe and drug-free society.

Gregory Poole, 17, is a senior and Student Government Association president at Brookwood High School.


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