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.

Monday, February 20, 2006

State's meth epidemic ranges from workplace to home (California)

It wasn't an anti-drug Red Ribbon Week speaker who recently enlightened a classroom of kindergartners about California's pervasive methamphetamine problem.

It was their teacher. She was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of meth in the classroom. So much for the ABC's and hooked on phonics. This was a lesson on average Californians getting hooked on meth.

California is ground zero for the national meth epidemic. Estimates from California's Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs suggest more than half a million Californians have recently used meth, and many of them have crossed the invisible line into meth addiction.

Publicly funded drug treatment centers are now seeing more meth addicts than alcoholics. Of the 100,000 Californians in drug treatment programs on any given day, one-third of them are dependent on meth.

The meth problem snaked its way into California through the backdoors of rural communities where it was cooked and manufactured. It stayed under the radar for many years. Now it's everywhere.

While it is obvious that people drawn into the trap of addiction have their lives terribly degraded by meth, many others also suffer serious damage from this plague, especially women and children.

Women are particularly drawn to meth because they believe it will boost their energy, help them lose weight and cope with the demands of family and work. In some cases it's been called "mother's little helper." But it becomes "the disaster drug" when mom loses her health, the kids to foster care, her job and the house.

Missing pieces
There is hope. There is clear research evidence that meth users respond positively to treatment. Over the past five years, more than 100,000 Californians addicted to meth have received help via treatment funded by Proposition 36. This voter initiative has saved hundreds, if not thousands of lives.

Treatment assistance for Californians addicted to meth is part of a solution, but we shouldn't sit by and treat the casualties. A vigorous and effective public information campaign about the health risks of using meth is critical.

According to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, roughly two-thirds of the meth used in the U.S. comes from the larger labs, increasingly in Mexico and controlled by Mexican Crime Organizations. We need to ask for cooperation from the Mexican government and toughen laws against smuggling meth over the border.

The meth epidemic is not going to go away anytime soon. It's time to wake up.

State Sen. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, is the chairperson of the California Senate Select Committee on Methamphetamine Abuse. Dr. Richard Rawson, of UCLA's School of Medicine, co-wrote this article.


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