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 use, child abuse not cheap thrill combination (Minnesota)

by Jennifer Kivioja
Staff writer
ABC Newspapers

The Anoka County Child Abuse Prevention Council sponsored two workshops last month to deal with the growing problems associated with methamphetamine use.

“We are aware that there is a rise in meth use and the number of child abuse cases nationwide and in Anoka County,” said Judy Rath, co-chairwoman of the council.

To that effect, the goal of the council is to create greater community awareness so that child abuse and neglect can be prevented.

Because April was Child Abuse Prevention Month in Minnesota, it was the perfect time for the council to host events bringing awareness to a growing problem.

According to the council, the use of methamphetamine in the community has resulted in more children experiencing significant related trauma, ranging from prenatal exposure to toxic environmental exposure to severe neglect and abuse.

“The council is concerned with the safety and well-being of children and families,” said Donna McDonald, member of the council. “And we know that meth is destructive to families and that child protection agencies are seeing more cases because of the use of meth.”

About 300 people attended the two workshops. One was geared toward the community (and was attended by parents, youth and concerned citizens) and the other was attended by professionals.

“The focus of the workshops was to talk about what our community can do for prevention and to bring awareness and education of meth use,” Rath said.

During the workshops several qualified speakers spoke about the drug and its effects on the community, especially children.

Michele Fallon, a social worker at the Harris Programs, Center for Early Education and Development at the University of Minnesota, spoke about the physical and emotional effects on child development and how to craft therapeutic interventions to be as helpful as possible.

“Meth can have a devastating affect on kids and families, but there are resources out there,” said Fallon.

She talked about how meth addiction is treatable and families dealing with this drug problem should also seek mental health intervention.

“Caregivers also need training because of the trauma involved,” she said.

As for advice on the drug, “never use it, not even once. Meth is extremely addictive and causes brain damage,” Fallon said.

Sara Hejny, a former methamphetamine addict, shared the same advice.

“Don’t try this drug, not even once,” she said.

Hejny was 17 years old when she first tried meth. “I started because it was something to do with my friends,” she said.

It was also back in 1998, a time when the drug and the devastating effects weren’t as well known as they are today, Hejny said.

“We knew nothing of the dangers back then,” she said. “If I would have seen the before and after pictures of people I would have never tried meth.”

Hejny was addicted just after one use and remained an addict for the next three years, she said.

Because of meth she lost everything, including her husband and custody of her daughter, Hejny said.

Hejny has now been clean for 16 months and has been working with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s methamphetamine education program telling her story.

“I’ve had to deal with so much from coming home from rehab, to dealing with a divorce to losing my daughter, to functioning normally again with meth,” Hejny said.

“Telling my story helps remind of a place I never want to go back to.”

Hejny also offered some advice to parents.

“Always know where you child is going, know who their friends are and talk with their parents and if you suspect your child is using, reach out and get help for them right away,” Hejny said.


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