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.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A growing problem (Utah)


CEDAR CITY - Contrary to what many people believe, teaching kids about drugs at a young age is perhaps better than letting them figure things out on their own.

"They're going to be exposed to it eventually in their life," said Iron County Schools Secondary Education Director Paul Maggio. "You have to acknowledge that it's there."

In addition to the DARE program, local schools are joining others in the country for the national Red Ribbon Week, which starts Monday.

Red Ribbon Week is designed to teach students, as young as elementary school, about drugs and how to say "no" before they learn the consequences from peers or through using themselves.

"The biggest thing is education," said Cedar City Police Sgt. Darin Adams. "That is so key."

Students in Iron County start learning about drugs when they are about 10 years old through the DARE program, but Adams thinks parents should talk to their kids before that.

However, many parents think that if they talk with their children about drugs at such a young age, they will be introducing bad habits really early in life.

"It's not gonna do that," Adams said. "I've never seen that happen."

The Cedar City Police Department has been teaching students about drugs as part of Red Ribbon Week for at least 10 years, and each time the program has been a success.

Coupled with skits, drug dog demonstrations and educational presentations, students learn the negative aspects of drugs before they have a chance to succumb to peer pressure.

"I think it's been received very well," Adams said. "Just awareness I think is huge."

Though it's not currently prevalent in schools, one drug that runs rampant throughout Iron County and the surrounding area and impacts many parents is methamphetamine.


Even though meth labs haven't been found in Iron County for a couple of years, it doesn't mean the drug is absent from the area.

"I think it's on the rise," Adams said.

Between the Iron County Sheriff's Office and the Cedar City and Enoch police departments, there have been roughly 70 to 80 meth-related arrests this year, he said.

And the Iron/Garfield Counties Narcotics Task Force, which is the main drug enforcement agency for the area and often targets dealers instead of users, made more than 140 meth-related arrests last year.

More than 90 percent of those were dealers, said Keith Millett, commander of the drug task force.

"If people knew really how much (meth) was out there, they'd be frightened," Millett said. "It's definitely the biggest threat to our society in this area."

While many other drugs, like heroine, create physical addictions, meth is different.

"What's scary about meth is it's a psychological addiction," Millett said. "So a lot of people get addicted to that feeling."

And the addiction comes fast.

"It's a pretty a bad deal, that meth, it just kinda tears you to pieces," said Clint, a former meth addict who has been clean for six years.

Clint, who didn't want his last name printed, started using meth when he was 14 and was hooked for 16 years.

"There's about three years I don't remember nothin'. I don't remember nothin,'" Clint said. "Meth runs your life. No matter what else is goin' on in your life, meth is what's gotcha. So that's what you chase, and that's what you go for."

Because of the chemical reaction between meth and the user's body, addicts experience extreme emotional highs and lows, often feel like they can do anything, and sometimes have an enhanced sexual sensation.

"I felt like I was on top of the world at first," Clint said. "Oh yeah, I could do anything."

And because of the extreme addiction, meth is hard to escape.

"It's the devil. There's no other way to put it. It's just pure evil," Adams said.

The path to prevention

Meth is often trafficked into Iron County from St. George. But that meth often comes from Las Vegas after originating in Mexico.

"The main problem is (that) we need to close off our borders," Millett said. "As long as people want it, it's gonna become available."

But the availability is something that shouldn't matter if people know the consequences of the drug up front, and that's where early education comes into play.

"If you choose to go with people that are doing it, then that's the route you're gonna go. If you choose to go with the kids that aren't, then that's the other route," Clint said.

"There's a fork in the road. You either go one way or the other. There's no down the middle. It's all about who you hang out with," he said.

Clint chose the wrong route, he said, and suffered the consequences. After serving a year in jail for dealing meth, he straightened up his life.

"I don't remember the first couple months of being locked up," he said, because his addiction took such a toll on his body.

But after six years of being drug-free, Clint has a family and owns a local business.

"It takes time to dig your way out of it, but I have," he said. "It's either prison, death or life. I chose life."


Blogger Kelly said...

I just now came across your blog. I am the legal guardian of 4 children because their parents are meth addicts. I will tell you that these young ones know that drugs are bad.

When the oldest of these children was in 4th grade she would tell everyone in her class.."don't ever use drugs!"

These kids have had an education that, fortunately, most kids don't get. But it points out that knowledge is power and that is prevention.

Thanks for your efforts with this blog.

Monday, February 26, 2007 12:33:00 AM  

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