DEATH * BY * METH

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 09, 2006

Meth in the eye of county crime storm (California)

Phil Hayworth
Tracy Press

Most people who seek addiction treatment in San Joaquin County do so for heroin.

That news came as a surprise to Congressman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, who was in Stockton on Monday for a closed-door roundtable discussion with city, county and regional law enforcement and treatment professionals about another drug: methamphetamine.

“We know that meth addiction is a nationwide problem,” Pombo said. “We also know that it affects towns in the Central Valley and Tracy.”

But what was really surprising, he said, was learning that 35 percent of those who seek treatment in San Joaquin County do so for heroin addiction, followed by meth at 25 percent and alcohol at 24 percent.

But those numbers are skewed, said Frances Hutchins of the San Joaquin County Substance Abuse Services, who suspects there are more methamphetamine addicts than heroin addicts here. Fewer meth addicts actually seek treatment than heroin addicts, according to Hutchins.

Meth is also a bigger problem in the eyes of some law enforcement officials, who say the drug seems to have greater links to crime and social ills. The Central Valley’s meth problem affects the whole country because at one time nearly 80 percent of the country’s meth originated in the area, Pombo said, and the area still leads the nation in meth production.

“It drives so many issues,” Pombo said.

A good deal of San Joaquin County’s methamphetamine also comes from Mexico, agreed the Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement officers at Monday’s roundtable.

Unlike the pure Mexican heroin that hits county streets, however, the methamphetamine from Mexico is less pure and therefore more dangerous, said law enforcement agents.

It burns holes in users’ brains, say health professionals, and drives users to act in ways that opiates don’t.
“San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties are the nation’s capitol for car theft,” Pombo said. “The crimes are directly related to meth use.”

That’s why Pombo said he’ll do what’s needed to keep federal dollars flowing to California’s methamphetamine treatment programs and efforts to stop the drug before it comes in from Mexico.

“The first thing you have to do to combat the problem is maintain your funding,” he said.

Of the country’s $12.6 billion drug treatment and interdiction budget, $1.1 billion is dedicated for prevention and treatment, Pombo said.

About $300,000 of that goes to San Joaquin County. About $3 million is spent on treatment of all addictions in the county, Hutchins said.

But methamphetamine should get more funding, she said.

“I think the issue of meth in our community is much more widespread in terms of social ills,” Hutchins said.
Child Protective Services figures show that 80 percent of children newly admitted to its system have the drug in their bodies, Hutchins said.

“Meth use impacts your health care. They end up in emergency rooms,” she said. “Meth especially is responsible for risky sexual behavior and correlates with sexually transmitted diseases like hepatitis and HIV.”

• To reach reporter Phil Hayworth, call 830-4221 or e-mail phayworth@tracypress.com.
http://www.tracypress.com/local/2006-05-09-meth.php

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