Meth: Recognize The Enemy

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For most parents, this photograph may be the first time they have ever seen methamphetamine, a drug experts say is 10 times more addictive than crack cocaine.

But Payson Police Sgt. Rod Mamero not only wants parents and other residents to know what methamphetamine looks like, he wants them to know what the drug does to our children and what we can do to fight back.

“This is a violence-inducing drug,” Mamero said. “The problem is not just people using meth, it’s the byproducts which include theft, burglary, assault, domestic violence and murder.”

The police department has taken a pro-active educational approach and put together a two-hour presentation for civic organizations, church groups, businesses or other interested parties.

The topics cover how the drug is made, sold and used, the crimes related to methamphetamine use, specific problems in Payson, the cost to employers and businesses, and the signs and symptoms of meth abuse.

Local law enforcement officers hope the presentations will help the community understand the magnitude of the meth threat.

“Arizona is a big producer of meth,” Mamero said. “In 1998, the state of New York had two meth labs seized. That same year, Arizona had 400.”

Police Chief Gordon Gartner launched an aggressive meth enforcement program in 2002, a program he believes illustrates the relationship between drug use and reported crimes.

“From January to November 2001, we made 161 drug arrests,” Gartner said. “This year, we had 426 drug arrests during the same timeframe. An interesting side statistic on this is that we have seen a decrease of 47 percent in reported burglaries.

“... We’re running the drug dealers out of town,” Gartner said. “We’ve seized six meth labs this year.”

Groups interested in the presentation can call Mamero at 474-5242, ext. 210, or e-mail him at rmamero@ci.payson.az.us.

“No child wakes up one day and decides to be a drug addict,” Mamero said. “It’s drugs like meth that get them hooked and destroy their lives.”

Signs to watch for

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Severe mood swings
  • Long periods without sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Losing interest in things they used to enjoy
  • Scratching
  • Twitching
  • Increased heart and respiratory rate
  • Paranoid behavior
  • Violent behavior

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