A Mother's Worst Nightmare ...

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... is realizing your child is hooked on drugs, or in this case, meth. When asked how she determined this and what signs she saw, ‘Mom' answered that the child was always hyper before crashing. The child wouldn't work and often refused to get out of bed. He/she was usually in a strange mood. The mother never knew from one day to the next what the child's mood would be. He/she couldn't keep a job and his teeth had begun to rot. The ‘Mom' thought the child began using drugs around 18 years of age and stopped when 23.

The child was never in a good mood and became mean, nasty and irrational with unpredictable behavior. In addition, the child underwent a complete personality change. The child abused his/her spouse. The ‘Mom' made the comment: "This is my child, I love him/her, but right then I didn't like him/her very much."

The child used meth until he/she almost killed himself/herself, which was about four years into the addiction. In conjunction with the irrational behavior, the child had several children with multiple partners during the addiction.

A drug addict will do anything to score the next high, while all the time denying there is a problem with drug abuse, even though in this instance the child came back positive for meth after the overdose. They will steal, lie, cheat or whatever it takes. Fortunately, the child kicked the habit and has been sober for two years.

This ‘Mom' is a certified EMT who works in a position where she has multiple contacts with people on drugs of all kinds, but she especially sees a lot of meth.

She emphasizes that it eventually gets to the point where the family doesn't want the child around anymore. But during the abuse the child doesn't care about anyone or anything but getting "high". They don't care about keeping anything clean, including their appearance or their living environment. Emergency medical responders usually know the minute they walk in the door if their patient is a drug user because of the living conditions.

Another EMT talked about a man she knew who took meth for a year because it made him feel younger, stronger and more virile and energetic. Luckily he realized the potential damage the drug could cause and quit the habit. No one is immune to the lure of meth. You just have to be smart enough to know the dangers and stay away.

WARNING -- WARNING -- WARNING

If you use one of the propane exchange stations, (such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc.) check to make sure you are not getting one that was previously filled with anhydrous ammonia. Meth cookers are using the cylinders for their processing before returning them to a refilling station. One way to be certain you have a clean cylinder is to examine the brass valve. If the valve has a bluish-green, greenish, or bluish color residue on it the cylinder is compromised by the ammonia, making it unstable with the possibility of a violent, unexpected expulsion, which could cause personal injury or death.

This practice has occurred in the Midwest for the past several years and is slowly making its way west. This information was passed out during a meth training workshop for the Indiana Sheriff's Association and more recently by the National Propane Gas Association. If you should come into contact with a damaged tank contact the fire department or a hazardous materials emergency response unit. The Drug Enforcement Agency should also be contacted.

Dallas Company perfects MethMonitor

LeadsOnlabs has perfected a ‘real-time' meth monitor where pharmacies are able to check on anyone purchasing pseudoephedrine that might be going over the legally allowed amount. If a customer comes in to make a purchase, the pharmacist can look by name and the record will show when and how much the customer has purchased in the last few days or past month. Arkansas put the program into effect and within the first few months, several meth manufacturers were arrested.

If a customer is over the limit the pharmacist denies the purchase. They have no part in enforcement, but in effect have stopped the process before it can happen by not allowing meth cooks to buy the necessary ingredients. The good news is names and addresses are on the record for officers to access.

Gila County is looking into the possibility and feasibility of adopting the program.

Upcoming events

Aug. 2: Payson Police Department will celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Night Out at Green Valley Park from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. There will be games, face painting, food and lots more activities on schedule. PPD invites families to come join in the fun. "Let's come get to know our neighbors and say goodbye to crime in our communities."

Aug. 25: C.A.R.E. Fair at the Gila County Fair Grounds from 3 to 6 p.m. Let's give our young students a good start in school this year.

For questions or more information on the Gila County Meth Coalition contact Chair Claudia DalMolin at the Gila County Sheriff's Office (928) 425-4440, Co-Chair Bianca DalMolin at (928) 701-1790, Facilitator Peggy Huggins at (928) 425-1887 or Media Liaison Lu DuBois at (928) 467-2515.

Don't use, abuse or be confused! "Meth IS Death."

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