Police Offer Tips On Identifying Meth Users

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The video showed a person constantly moving, stomping his feet and unable to sit still, all signs of a person on crystal methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine user identification was the main topic at the second monthly public police meeting at Payson's Town Hall, attended by about 15 residents Wednesday night.

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Jason Hazelo

"It can be snorted, smoked, injected, it can be taken just about any way they want," Jason Hazelo, drug enforcement officer with Payson Police said, of using meth.

Hazelo reaffirmed what Payson residents have already been told, meth is the No. 1 drug problem in Arizona.

"Habits and characteristics of a [meth] user are universal, they apply no matter where he or she may be," Hazelo said.

Hazelo said restlessness and body tremors are one of the most recognizable signs of meth use.

"A person under the influence of meth simply can't stop moving, they'll bang things and stomp their feet," he said. "And you will see them constantly looking around," he said.

Hazelo said the criteria used by law enforcement to spot a meth user is based on identifying drivers of motor vehicles who may be under its influence, but is applicable in recognizing users on the street, as well.

He went on to present a short video of a suspect police had under surveillance at Mazatzal Casino, who was under the influence of meth.

Dorothy Ehrig asked if police had any plans to try and educate parents of school-age children about methamphetamine abuse and its presence in Arizona schools.

"After all, it is usually the parents who are in the dark about their kids possibly using it," Ehrig said.

Hazelo said the Payson Police Department is in the process of putting together a comprehensive parent education program, but that in the meantime, the DARE program will continue to be offered to schools.

A Payson resident, who asked to remain anonymous, asked if Hazelo was available to speak to groups about methamphetamine and its users.

Hazelo said he would be glad to speak with any group or individual who wants to know more about it.

Sgt. Tom Tieman, with Payson Police drug enforcement was at Wednesday's meeting and said he wants to persuade business owners in Payson to agree to a system of drug testing when hiring employees, to try and make Payson a completely drug-free community.

Tieman said that if drug users can't find employment in Payson, they would soon get tired of not having a job and simply move on.

"But if they (drug users) can't find work, don't you think that could result in a higher instance of things like burglaries and robberies?" asked Bill Broce.

Tieman said he didn't feel that would be the case in Payson.

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