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, May 04, 2006

Meth forum paints a grim picture of growing epidemic (Georgia)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gwinnett County residents got a crash course Tuesday night in what was called the "subculture of crystal meth" in their communities.

Nearly 150 people of all ages gathered at the GHS Resource Center on Ga. 120 in Duluth at 7 p.m. to hear speakers detail the effects of the drug on individuals, relationships and families.

'Jennifer,' a recovering addict, began using meth as a way to lose weight after having a baby and only quit when her parents threatened to take her child away from her. 'It snuck up fast,' she says of her addiction.

A question-and-answer session followed, with panelists from medical, law enforcement, religious and other disciplines fielding audience queries.

The most compelling story of meth's effects was told by "Jennifer," 24, a recovering addict who also was on the panel.

"I started drinking in seventh grade. By the time I was 18, I was into Ecstasy and cocaine," she told an attentive audience. "At 20, I was pregnant.

"When the baby was 5 months old, I started doing meth to lose weight."

Jennifer said she would leave her baby with her parents and go out to stay up for days at a time.

"It took me by surprise how quick it ruined my life," she said. "It snuck up fast. My hair was thin, my eyes were bugging out of my head."

She only decided to get clean when her parents threatened to take her daughter from her. She's now been off meth for nearly eight months.

The overriding theme of the forum was how pervasive "ice" has become.

"Forty percent of this room probably has some connection to addiction," said speaker Cheryl DeLuca-Johnson of Metro Atlanta Recovery Residences, who helped organize the event.

"It is an epidemic. It's in our school systems."

DeLuca-Johnson shocked the crowd when she told them she had done an Internet search on how to make crystal meth. She got 12.8 million hits.

Among the audience members was Janie Fulghum of Mothers Against Methamphetamine of Loganville and Walton County.

Pastoral surroundings are no barrier against meth, she said, though she feels the city and parents are wearing blinders.

"It's truly a community in denial," she said. "Our biggest problem — and this is everywhere — is that people say, 'If it's not my child, it's not my problem.'"

Fulghum said she began working to fight meth when a friend's daughter began using the drug. The girl went from 120 pounds to 80 pounds in just two weeks, she said.

Linda Causey of Lilburn came to learn about the drug for the sake of her foster children, siblings whose mother is a meth addict.

"I know nothing about meth," she said. "I want my children to understand more of what their mother is going through."

The forum was hosted by SummitRidge Center for Psychiatry & Addictive Medicine, an affiliate of Gwinnett Hospital System.

Nearly 1,818 kilograms of meth were seized in the United States in the first nine months of 2005, according to the latest figures available from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

In Georgia, 174 pounds of the drug were seized at a Lawrence-ville house in March 2005. Authorities said it was the biggest bust ever on the East Coast.

In February this year, agents found 112 pounds of meth at another Lawrenceville house.

"It can be anywhere," said panelist Tim Colgan, a Snellville police detective.


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