Pubdate: Wed, 03 Aug 2005
Source: Bristol Herald Courier (VA)
Copyright: 2005 Bristol Herald Courier
Author: Matthew Lakin
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


BRISTOL, Va.  Cindy Laxson quit using methamphetamine nearly a year ago, 
but she still struggles with her addiction every day.

"Tomorrow, I'll have been clean 11 months," she told members of the Rotary 
Club on Tuesday. "It took me losing absolutely everything I loved and 
everything I had."

Laxson came home last year to Tannersville, a small farming community on 
the Tazewell-Smyth County line, after years of meth abuse in Arkansas and 
Missouri, states where suspected meth labs numbered in the thousands.

She returned to a region just beginning to deal with its own meth problem.

"It's definitely an epidemic," she said. "I give Virginia and Tennessee 
about another year, and they'll be right up there with Missouri."

The drug cost Laxson her four children, her marriage and nearly everything 
she owned. Her experience led her to start speaking out against meth use.

"I don't think people understand until you tell them about it," she said. 
"But it's so big now, they're wanting to know more about it."

Laxson knows about the problem from nearly every angle. She smoked meth, 
ate it and snorted it. She helped her husband, John, cook it in batches.

"I have sold meth to judges, attorneys and doctors," she said. "I helped do 
it all."

Quitting the drug wasn't easy. It took the support of her family and a 
renewed faith in God, she said.

That came after she helped authorities bust her husband and send him to 
prison for meth-making.

She still hopes to regain custody of her children, who were taken by state 
social services workers. And Laxson hopes to take her story to area 
schools, civic groups and any other audience she can find.

She believes that might be the only way to make people understand the 
drug's dangers.

"It'll hit closer to home that way," she said. "Maybe then they'll think 
twice about doing it."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom