Meth Coalition Issues A Call For Action

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The newly formed Gila County Meth Coalition held a second organizational meeting May 31 at the Gila County Sheriff's Office Roosevelt Lake Substation.

There, members planned strategy on ways to educate county residents about the dangers of methamphetamine use and abuse.

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The Gila County Meth Coalition met May 31 at the Gila County Sheriff's Office Roosevelt Substation. The group was formed to help bring northern and southern Gila County together to educate all community members about the dangers and signs of methamphetamine use.

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

Such legislation would also 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 more grant money to develop a county nonpartisan anti-meth plan and community needs assessments.

The coalition is a joint effort of the Gila County Sheriff's Office and the Gila County Narcotics Task Force.

The two agencies, last fall, applied for and received grant funding from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety to begin the countywide diverse coalition against the use of methamphetamine.

The original seven-person coalition was founded Feb. 13 and 14 at the "A Call to Action" statewide meth conference at the Phoenix Wyndham hotel.

There, the Gila County coalition listened to Gov. Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Bruce Babbitt and others declare a statewide war on those who manufacture and use methamphetamines.

Since that meeting, the coalition has expanded to include members from the Gila County Sheriff's Office, Gila County Narcotics Gang and Violent Crime Task Force, SGCNT (Southern Gila County Networking Team), STEPP (Strategic Tribal Empowerment Prevention Program), the Northern Gila County Community Prevention Council, MAP (Meth Awareness & Prevention), AJC (Adelante Juntos Coalition), Sunrise Wellbriety, Phelps Dodge, Cobre Valley Community Hospital, Southwest Behavioral Health, Payson Unified School District, Payson Roundup and others.

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

See related story:

Meth comes to Payson from Mexico

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