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, March 22, 2006

Youths affected by meth always need our help (Salem, Oregon)

Seventy-five foster families stepped up; more are needed

Last fall, anti-drug advocates made an urgent plea to leaders of local faith communities: Find 75 new foster families by May 1 for children removed from meth homes. They have reached that figure with six weeks to spare.

Our community can be grateful for these thoughtful, compassionate families. Opening one's home to traumatized children is a huge decision. But it's one of the best things people can do to heal methamphetamine's damage and to keep it from spiraling through another generation.

Still, thanking these families is just a start. Each one will need a circle of supporters to back them up in this difficult task. If others would offer to cook an occasional dinner, baby-sit for a weekly "date" night or get trained to provide respite care, they could help these new foster families keep alive their generous resolve.

Unlike earlier generations of addictive drugs, meth falls especially hard on children. Cheap and swiftly addictive, it appeals to people in their childbearing years. Kids are left to fend for themselves for days at a time while Mom and Dad are high, then again while their parents sleep it off.

By now, everyone has seen photos of authorities clearing toxic chemicals out of houses after a meth bust. But children are exposed to another kind of poison, one less talked about, in homes where adults use a drug that arouses them sexually.

Many children of meth homes see pornography and sexual acts in full view. Even worse, some are sexually abused by their parents or visiting strangers. No wonder that when police raid a meth home, one of the priorities is to find a safe place for the kids.

Children survive such places as best they can. For many, the transition to a normal, loving foster family will be rocky. But how these families are needed, now and in the months to come!

Seventy-five, the number that No Meth -- Not in My Neighborhood set before faith leaders in the fall, was just a minimum goal for new foster homes. If more families step up, child-welfare advocates will be better able to place kids with foster parents who can best meet their needs.

Last fall's invitation still stands. May more people hear it and accept.


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