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.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Meth abuse: it's a local problem (South Dakota)

By Cathy Nelson

HOT SPRINGS - Meth is a big problem right here in Fall River County, said the presenters at the information-packed program on Methamphetamine hosted by Southern Hills Alcohol and Drug (SHAD) at the Mueller Center last Tuesday evening.

Presenters included Kari Daron, who is SHAD prevention specialist, Fall River County Sheriff Jeff Tarrell, Angie Collignon with the Department of Social Services, and Lyle Tolsma, a special agent with the Division of Criminal Investigation. The meeting was emceed by Hot Springs School Superintendent Vern Hagedorn, a member of the Chemical Abuse Prevention Team (CAPT) of Hot Springs.

Approximately 80 people attended the meeting, where they heard shocking statistics and stories of children and adults who are harmed by Meth's drastic effects. Daron challenged the audience with a test on Meth to see how much they know about the drug. Meth is known by many euphemisms, such as crank and glass. It is a derivative of amphetamine, which is a powerful stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It can be smoked, snorted, orally ingested and injected and is accessible in many different forms. Meth comes in powder form that resembles granulated crystals and a rock form known as “ice.”

Meth causes increased energy and alertness and decreases appetite. Side effects include convulsions, dangerously high body temperature, stroke, cardiac arrhythmia, stomach cramps and shaking. Chronic Meth abuse can lead to psychotic behavior, including intense paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations and out-of-control rages that can result in violent episodes. Chronic users at times develop sores on their bodies from scratching at "crank bugs," which describes the common delusion that bugs are crawling under the skin. Research has shown that as much as 50 percent of the dopamine-producing cells in the brain can be damaged by prolonged exposure to relatively low levels of Methamphetamine, and that the serotonin containing nerve cells may be damaged even more extensively.

Parents need to talk to their kids about Meth and the reality of what it does to the body, Daron said. She also recommended the web site, for information. Parents also need to know when their teen might be using Meth. “It (Meth) changes who they are,” Daron said.

Some of the most common signs and symptoms are extremely dilated pupils, dry or bleeding nose and lips, chronic nasal or sinus problems, and bad breath. Because Meth is a stimulant, users also experience hyperactivity, anxiety, insomnia, tremors, convulsions, paranoia and irritability. Longer-term effects can include increased heart rate and blood pressure, damage to blood vessels in the brain, stroke and even death. Psychotic symptoms can sometimes persist for months or years, even after the user has stopped taking the drug.

After only one dose of Meth a person may become addicted, Daron said.

Next to speak was Collignon, who told the tragic story of a mother, who was rendered incapable of caring for her children and also was sent to jail because of her Meth abuse.

Sheriff Tarrell explained what some of the costs are when Meth users are in jail. He said that prisoners cost $50 a day. Using a real example of 18 prisoners in jail for 80 days, he said three of them were Meth users. The cost to taxpayers was $12,000. He said about 30 percent of the people in jail are usually for Meth-related reasons. He also said their dental and medical care are additional costs.

“As taxpayers, you're paying for it,” Tarrell said. When you see someone doing drugs “don't tell me he's just doing it to himself.

“Methamphetamine is no joke,” Tarrell continued. “It's here, it's dangerous, and it's costing you money.”

He encouraged businesses to have a “zero tolerance for Meth.” He said businesses should send out a 30 day notice advising employees that there will be drug testing, then, after 30 days, have the employees tested at random.

Tolsma said drug users come from all walks of life. “They look like me, they look like you,” he said. He also said that there is a rise on prescription drug fraud.

He told the audience that if anyone knows of a Meth lab or Meth user to let him or Sheriff Tarrell know. Don't try to take action yourself, he warned.

Daron concluded the session by saying that Meth used to be an adult drug, but since about three years ago, kids have been experimenting with it. “Getting parents to listen is the hardest,” she said. She gave the web site, encouraging parents to become informed. “Parents need to get street smart so they can talk to their kids about drugs,” she said.

“Not only does Meth change people, it can change communities, so it's serious,” she said.

Daron is available to give presentations to businesses and organizations. She can be reached by calling SHAD, 745-6300.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thought that meth can be addictive after just one use is a little crazy

Thursday, April 06, 2006 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I know many people on meth and recovering people and 9 out of 10 said that it had them after the 1st or second try. If you or your friends were different ... great... but then why did you still do it? Duh

Friday, April 07, 2006 12:18:00 PM  

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