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.

My Photo
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.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Don't meth up your life (Colorado)

Don't meth up your life

By John Mangalonzo Journal-Advocate staff

STERLING - It's a dawning of a new era in the fight against a menace to society known as methamphetamine proliferation and addiction.
Those who attended the Festival at the Park in Fort Morgan may have noticed a different kind of booth alongside other vendors and exhibitors.

Its catchy name, "Don't Meth Up Your Life," attracted inquisitive people of all ages to visit the booth to ask questions and share their life stories, heartaches and triumphs about their personal fight against meth.

A brainchild of the 13th Judicial District Attorney's Office, Don't Meth Up Your Life is a prevention and educational campaign geared toward the understanding and realization of the dangers of the drug, says DA Bob Watson.

Watson said there are three major components in the fight against meth: enforcement, prevention and rehabilitation.

Courtesy photo Diann Larson (left) a legal assistant for the District Attorney's Office, looks at an educational material as former Deputy District Attorney Kristin Knotts checks the brochures in the Don't Meth Up Your Life booth.

"My office's primary responsibility is the enforcement, and I think we are doing a great job on it," Watson said, adding that part of his office's responsibility is to engage in public awareness, education and outreach.

The booth, manned by volunteers from the DA's office - deputy district attorneys and legal assistants - will travel in all the county fairs all through the seven-county district jurisdiction.

"We will take it one day each on all county fairs," Watson said.

Watson added that he was surprised to see the public's positive response while the booth was on display in Fort Morgan.

On July 28, Watson's amazement grew when the booth attracted quite a crowd at the Phillips County Fair, which included people who have had personal experiences of meth addiction and recovery.

"These are people that shared their personal stories and how they were affected by it," Watson said.

The first of its kind, the educational campaign/booth will be a permanent feature of the DA's office's public awareness arsenal, Watson said.

"There is a need for this kind of awareness," DA's Office Chief Investigator Bill Boden said.

Boden said that he saw parents who visited the booth come back and bring their children to show them the effects of meth through a picture display.

The booth displays photos of facial progressions of people hooked on meth, as well as other photos showing the effects of the drug on an individual. Volunteers also hand out brochures and educational materials to booth visitors.

"We just pick the busiest day in a county fair and set up that day," Boden said.

Boden added that the DA's office sends out invitations to local law enforcement agencies to visit their booth so they can discuss the dangers and consequences of being hooked on drugs.

Along with drug awareness, volunteers in the booth also tackle Elder Watch, which addresses financial scams that target senior citizens.

Don't Meth Up Your Life, Boden said, has had considerable assistance from the National Guard and AARP. The program has also received input from the Tennessee attorney general's office.

Drug enforcement officials say that the meth epidemic not only affects people who are using and addicted to the drug. Meth destroys families, ties to the community and even children.

Recent studies found that meth usage leads to situations of profound neglect and abuse, physical danger resulting from in-house manufacture of the drug, parents teaching their children criminal behaviors and a paranoid distrust of authority.

Law enforcement authorities said meth is undeniably a nasty, dangerous drug, and a parent's addiction can place a child in harm's way. Some children need to go into foster care for their own protection, and an upsurge in cases might overwhelm child welfare agencies in some localities.

For these reasons, Boden said it's a must to start educating children about the dangers of not only meth, but all illegal drugs.

Boden added that parents also need to learn to watch for and recognize the warning signs of drug usage in their children and seek immediate help.

"And the kids that come to our booth are not bashful. They talk to us and ask a lot of questions," Boden said.

The campaign is a continuing process, Watson said, adding that his office is currently formulating a plan for a system of volunteers geared toward more community involvement.

"We did not have a lot of resources on this," Watson said, adding that local businesses had donated most of the items for the booth including the tent and tables.

The booth will be at the Logan County Fair all day Aug. 12.

Don't Meth Up Your Life schedule:

Aug. 4
Washington County Fair

Aug. 5
Sedgwick County Fair

Aug. 8
Yuma County Fair

Aug. 9
Morgan County Fair

Aug. 12
Logan County Fair

John Mangalonzo can be reached at

522-1990, Ext. 235 or by e-mail at:


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home