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, May 23, 2006

Gazette Opinion: Communities must act to reduce meth (Montana)

Rande Four Bear, left, reads the program as Crossroads High School students prepare for their graduation ceremony at the College of Technology Monday evening.Meth remains Montana's No. 1 illegal drug menace, but its grip is being strongly challenged by citizens all across our great state.

Legislation enacted last year at the urging of law enforcement leaders has already reduced the number of meth labs in Montana by restricting access to large quantities of ephedrine, a key ingredient in concocting the addictive poison, Attorney General Mike McGrath reported at a meth conference in Helena last week.

A massive anti-meth media campaign initiated by businessman Tom Siebel has in just seven months raised awareness of this drug problem so that most of us are seeing memorable anti-drug messages almost daily. The Montana Meth Project is succeeding in putting a hauntingly realistic face on this drug problem -- the scarred, scared, toothless faces of young meth addicts.

Eighty-five percent of Montana teens surveyed and 97 percent of parents reported having a discussion about meth in the previous six months, according to Montana Meth Project research. Moreover, research reveals that 70 percent of Montana teens are seeing or hearing an anti-meth ad an average of three times a week.

Rally in Lame Deer
A moving example of community anti-meth action occurred on May 12 in Lame Deer. Several hundred people -- including students, adults and tots in strollers -- marched through the streets of that small reservation community to take a stand against meth. Tribal leaders and elders exhorted people to work with law enforcement to defeat the drug that is harming their community as well as other towns all over Montana.

Every Montana community should rally against meth. Not just in the streets but in homes and schools where the importance of a drug-free lifestyle must be taught to youngsters and modeled by adults. Montanans must rally against meth by supporting law enforcement and ensuring adequate resources are available for fighting drug-related crimes despite federal cuts in anti-drug funds.

Law enforcement professionals, including McGrath, also have recognized that access to effective treatment is a necessary component of fighting meth. Armed with years of data from drug treatment courts in several Montana communities, Rep. John Parker of Great Falls last week called for the state to allocate $2 million in the next biennium to help sustain treatment courts in Billings, Butte, Bozeman, Great Falls, Lewistown, Missoula and Miles City. Parker, a deputy county attorney, said the effective rehabilitation that drug treatment courts provide will reduce crime and cut incarceration costs. Drug courts hold addicted offenders accountable by requiring that they stay in drug treatment and get jobs.

None of us are immune from this menace. Meth is the major contributor to Montana prison overcrowding, a factor in a large percentage of all violent and property crimes and the No. 1 reason why abused or neglected Montana children are placed in foster care.

Knowledge is power. Now that Montanans know what meth is doing to us, we have the power to fight back. As Tribal President Eugene Little Coyote told the Lame Deer anti-meth rally: "We have declared war on meth. ... We have now arrived at a time to turn our words into action."


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