Gila County Forms Meth Coalition

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Gila County has joined Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Terry Goddard's fight against the manufacture and use of methamphetamines.

The unifying of forces became a reality with the formation of the seven-person Gila County Meth Coalition at the "A Call to Action" statewide meth conference Feb. 13 and 14 at the Phoenix Wyndham hotel.

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Among the members of the newly formed Gila County Meth Coalition are Payson Town Councilor Tim Fruth, Department of Public Safety Officer Jimmy Oestmann, Claudia DalMolin of the Gila County Sheriff's Office and Gila County Narcotics Task Force Commander Steve Craig.

Among the coalition's responsibilities will be to push the Legislature to pass laws that will protect citizens from toxic and explosive labs found throughout Arizona.

Such legislation would regulate the sale of over-the-counter cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient for producing meth in illegal labs.

The coalition also has its sights set on obtaining grant money to develop a county nonpartisan anti-meth plan and community needs assessments.

Also, the coalition will design and implement environmental prevention strategies and develop action plans on ways to address the impact of methamphetamines in Gila County.

Members unanimously agreed to enlist others in the county, including representatives from public education, health responders, media, business organizations, the religious community, concerned citizen groups and law enforcement.

Because the coalition has members from both southern and northern Gila County, meetings will be held at a midway point -- a sheriff substation at Roosevelt Lake.

GC coalition members are: Romona Cameron, Department of Economic Security; Catherine Corso, Gila County Meth Education Committee; Steve Craig, Commander Gila County Narcotics Task Force; Claudia DalMolin, Gila County Sheriff's Office; Max Foster, the Payson Roundup; Tim Fruth, Payson High School and Payson Town Council; and Jimmy Oestmann, Arizona Department of Public Safety, GCNTF.

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