Wednesday, February 16, 2005
It's almost impossible to comprehend why a human being would ingest a substance that is so caustic that it can literally cause your teeth to fall out. A substance so disruptive that it can cause sores to appear all over your body.
The substance is known as methamphetamine, and those are just some of the physical symptoms. What it does to your mind is equally bad. If you have a job, you can probably kiss it goodbye if you start using meth, because you won't be able to concentrate on much that is productive.
Meth is reported by the experts to be extremely addictive -- use it once, and it may already be too late to turn back. There is no room for experimentation, and the health consequences are especially severe. It's no coincidence that the labs where meth is created become virtual toxic sites.
Just take a look at some of the substances used to produce methamphetamine: pseudoephedrine, acids, iodine, sodium hydroxide, flammable solvents, anhydrous ammonia, lithium, sodium metals, red phosphorous.
Looking at that list, a rational person can only shake their head and wonder -- why would someone even consider putting that into their body?
But it is happening, and citizens of the area need to be aware of it. Meth use appears to be spreading, and police officials believe the drive to get money to buy the drug is sparking many of the thefts we've been seeing in the county recently. According to Klickitat County Sheriff Chris Mace, the meth problem has been "bleeding over into other crimes" -- thefts, car prowls, burglaries. Mace explained that the problem stems from drug users turning to crimes to fund their addiction.
The good news is, a group has been organizing to combat this threat to the fabric of our society. The Klickitat County Meth Action Team was formed last year "to provide a multi-disciplinary approach at the local level and build capacity for mobilizing the whole community to combat meth."
Those working to combat the two-pronged, destructive meth curse include local school officials, police officers, health workers, pastors, parents, and many others.
At the last meeting, held in Lyle on Jan. 19, 27 community members from all across the county took time to share ideas and work to map strategies to get a handle on this problem. It's great to see so many involved in this challenge. Meth use is a problem with roots in many aspects of our society, and law enforcement personnel alone will not be able to solve it.
This is a fight we can't afford to lose.