Pubdate: Wed, 27 Jul 2005
Source: Barrie Advance, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


If the trendy drug of the moment, the devastating crystal methamphetamine, 
does emerge as a serious problem in Simcoe County, no one can say we 
weren't warned.

The OPP has made it clear that the drug, so popular and destructive among 
British Columbia teens, has been snaking its way towards Ontario.

"It is going to happen, and when it does, it will be a drug that will be 
abused in our part of the province," said OPP Det. Sgt. Rick Barnum. "We 
always heard it would come into Ontario from west to east, and everything 
we have seen so far shows that is true."

More deadly than crack cocaine and addictive even at low doses, crystal 
meth sells for about $100 a gram and provides an adrenaline-fuelled high 
that can last more than eight hours, police say. It's a toxic cocktail of 
15 easily-purchased chemicals and a gold mine for producers, who can 
generate thousands of dollars in profits for minimal investments.

Common in rural communities out west, the drug's side effects at low doses 
include disturbed sleep, decreased appetite and energy levels. Higher doses 
can cause insomnia, stroke, brain damage, hallucinations, paranoia, 
aggression, hypothermia, convulsions and death. In B.C., there were 33 
reported crystal meth fatalities last year, compared to three in 2000. The 
biggest users are teen and young adults.

"It is a crippling drug and will absolutely devastate the community," said 
Barnum, who oversees anti-drug operations for the region. "It is absolutely 
devastating on the mind and body."

The OPP's proactive stance on making the community aware of the drug and 
its potential impact is vital, but our communities have to be ready to step 
up and play a role as well.

In Orillia, city councillor Carl Garland is urging his colleagues to do 
just that.

Garland wants the city to explore prevention plans launched in some U.S. 
communities, where pharmacists report suspicious bulk purchases. As well, 
the OPP has been invited to educate councillors on the drug and discuss 
some policy options.

Perhaps there's an opportunity for the school board here, as well. Students 
who nod off during speeches about the evils of pot, may perk up at 
information about a drug known to contain ammonia, paint thinner, ether, 
Draino and lithium.

Stopping crystal meth in its tracks, before it takes hold and ruins lives, 
should be a priority across this county.

With this drug, waiting to act carries too high a price.
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