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, February 09, 2006

Increasing meth use poses a challenge (Colorado)

Alison Miller
The Daily Record

As the illegal use of methamphetamines continues to rise in Fremont County, law enforcement agencies are forced to grapple with the rampant abuse and the economic difficulties caused by the swell of offenders.
Since July 2004, the Fremont County Combined Drug Task Force has made 179 meth arrests, compared to 36 combined arrests from cocaine, heroin, hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana and prescription medication abuse.

Cañon City Police Department Capt. Alan Cooper said the numbers speak for themselves in showing the magnitude of the problem.

“Back in ‘88, there was no such thing as meth the way we know it today,” Cooper said. “Amphetamines were used by truck drivers and for weight reduction. Then, it became more readily available when people started making it on their porches, and it has impacted law enforcement.”

Cooper said meth use has skyrocketed because “it’s cheap, easy to make, readily available and gets people high.”

From July 2004 to December 2005, the task force made 91 first-offense arrests for meth possession or distribution.

Deputy Michael Girten of the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office said he believes the task force has done an excellent job of cutting down meth production and distribution within the county, but drugs are still seeping in.

“Meth is coming in from out of state and particularly Mexico,” Girten said. “There are drug highways that are allowing the stuff to get in. A lot of it is coming through La Junta.”

Cooper said the task force is overwhelmed with work, but he worries about its economic future.

“Realistically, I have enough work to keep six full-time narcotics investigators busy in Fremont County, but it would bankrupt them just to take care of the problem,” Cooper said. “I am going to run out of grant funds. If that’s not available, I’m not sure the municipality and county can maintain the task force. We have other law enforcement work we need to do we need money for.”

The task force officers are averaging 50 to 60 hours per week, and Cooper said there is “no end in sight” to the work they are doing.

According to police reports, of the 179 meth arrests since July 2004, 120 led to convictions through the Fremont County District Attorney’s Office. While only 35 of those convictions led to incarceration, another 84 were given probation or a deferred judgement.

The number of inmates with health problems associated with meth use poses it’s own budgeting problem.

Girten said the sheriff’s department and state correctional facilities are responsible for providing health and dental care to inmates.

“I had to take a 24-year-old kid to the dentist, and his teeth were just so rotten they had to pull six of them,” Girten said.

Cooper said the space problem at the detention center is overloading the sheriff because of the increase in meth arrests and other crimes tied to the drug.

“We are strapped for money and the problem is treatment is expensive, but so is incarceration,” Cooper said. “The number of child abuse cases are up. If you’re tweaking and out hustling money for drugs, you don’t have time to take care of your kids.”

Cooper said the number of domestic violence, theft, payroll check fraud and multiple drug abuse cases are up in Fremont County because addicts are looking for ways to bankroll their habit.

Cooper said he doesn’t see a long-term solution to the problem, but he said CCPD is being diligent to utilize the task force and crack down on the number of offenders.

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program and more involved parenting are the keys to helping pre-vent children from becoming part of the addictive cycle, Cooper said.

“There is no substitute for being a good parent,” he said. “Know who your kids’ friends are, where they are, what they are doing on the Internet and what their interests are.”


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