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.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The economics of drug abuse (Georgia)

By Sharon Swanepoel
The Loganville Tribune

Published February 24, 2006

This was the last week of our series on methamphetamine and its impact on our community. While most of it was heartbreaking, I did learn that drugs are really about money and simple economics.

I would like to share some statistics and the simple truths they highlight.

About 75 to 80 percent of Loganville’s crime and 75 percent of Georgia’s prison population is drug related and the re-offender rate is high.

With the crime and incarceration rate comes policing, court, incarceration, probation and rehabilitation costs. Drug related crime includes possession, dealing and trafficking. But it also includes the spin-off crimes such as shoplifting, theft, burglary, forgery, prostitution, domestic violence and murder. With this crime comes the expense to stores, homeowners, insurance companies and businesses. You also have social services and charities helping the families of felons, murder victims and families kept in poverty because of drug abuse or incarceration. Most of those expenses are passed onto us — in extra costs at the stores, insurance, loss of productivity, taxes and donations.

In a perfect world, if you just took drugs out of that mix you could reduce all those expenses by about 75 to 80 percent. The impact would be staggering.

Of course we all know it’s not a perfect world and sadly some of the other statistics I learned show just how impossible it would be to do that. Meth alone has a 95 — 98 percent addiction rate and only a 6 percent recovery rate. Georgia has three times the national average meth addiction rate for 18 to 25-year-olds. Not surprisingly, the picture is pretty bleak.

But there was one statistic that really got my attention. Although I didn’t interview many local recovered addicts, 100 percent of those I did credited Janey Fulghum of Mother’s Against Methamphetamine and local rehab programs with helping them kick their addiction and they rely on them to help prevent them being sucked back in. This shows just how important these programs are. If MAMa can use the reformed addicts to show the true cost of meth addiction, and the rehabilitation programs can improve on the 6 percent recovery rate, maybe a community like Loganville can improve on some of those pessimistic state and national statistics.

Wouldn’t it be better to get in front of the problems, spend the time and money on these programs to prevent or cure the addictions, than have to spend it on the back end once it has spiraled into crime, policing, incarceration or social service problems. A proactive approach like the Loganville Police Department’s Narcotics Division and an active organization like MAMa might give the impression of a community overrun with drugs. People don’t like having that reputation. But strict drug law enforcement coupled with using MAMa for active drug education in the schools and community would improve the initial addiction rate. And supporting rehabilitation programs should greatly improve the addiction recovery rate.

And that brings us to the basic rule of economics.

Take away the demand and you remove the supplier’s ability to control the market. And an unfriendly business environment for drug dealers is a great reputation to have.


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