Pubdate: Thu, 29 Sep 2005
Source: Brandon Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2005, Brandon Sun
Author: Robson Fletcher
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Huge Crowd Attends Public Forum On How Dangerous Drug Could Affect City

More than 300 people packed into the cafeteria at Crocus Plains 
Regional Secondary School last night to hear all about crystal meth 
- -- how it's made, how prevalent it is, and what can be done to stop 
it from spreading.

Brandon School Division superintendent Donna Michaels told the crowd 
that while crystal meth is rare in Westman, it has the potential to 
spread quickly.

"We are not at a danger point in this community," she said. "But we 
need to be mindful of the risks that are in our environment."

Inspector Ian Grant of the Brandon Police Service said that crystal 
meth is one of the least common drugs in the Wheat City, with just 
seven seizures since 2001.

That's far behind the total number of seizures of cannabis products, 
cocaine, magic mushrooms, ecstasy and LSD.

But unlike those drugs, Grant added, crystal meth has the potential 
to spread through a city extremely quickly because it is so easy to produce.

"What I found very disturbing," he said, "is that you can go onto the 
Internet and find a site ... and it tells you all the chemicals that 
you need to make this product, and how not to get caught."

Marc Samson, a synthetic drug specialist with the RCMP, even showed 
the crowd exactly how to combine various noxious chemicals to make 
crystal meth.

Samson said it's important for people to be aware of how the drug is 
made, so they can recognize clues if there is a meth lab in their 

He added that there was no danger in describing the production 
process, since recipes for crystal meth are widely available online.

"Anybody in this room can sit at a computer, download the recipe, go 
to Home Depot, get all the ingredients, go to Shoppers Drug Mart, get 
the cold medicine, and make meth within an hour or so," he said.

"That's all it takes."

Samson's presentation included photographs of the various byproducts 
left over during the production of crystal meth, and he encouraged 
citizens to be on the lookout for things like used coffee filters 
full of ground-up flu tablets.

"If you start finding that in your garbage, in parks, anywhere ... 
that'd be a clue," he said.

The chemicals used in the production of the drug pose a risk to 
people in the vicinity of a meth lab, Samson added, because 
unintended chemical reactions can produce poisonous gases or cause explosions.

"If there's a meth lab beside your house, you basically have the 
possibility of something exploding beside your house," he said.

Terry Gryschuk, regional director of the Addictions Foundation of 
Manitoba, said people in southwestern Manitoba need to fight back 
against the presence of meth labs by educating themselves.

"Methamphetamine particularly targets areas such as Westman," he 
said. "And this is because they are good places to set up labs. There 
is less chance of being detected."

"The residents of rural areas and small cities are not as savvy or 
knowledgeable as maybe some people in more built-up areas." The crowd 
was also shown, in graphic detail, what the effects of crystal meth look like.

Samson displayed images of a zombie-like young girl, cowering in the 
corner of a room in paranoia, with wounds up and down her arms from 
picking at them during a meth high.

Crystal meth is far more harmful than most other narcotics, he said, 
because it causes permanent brain damage in a short period of time.

"Someone on meth will not do meth for 10 to 20 years," he said. 
"They'll die before that."

Vincent Massey principal Terry Osiowy said no crystal meth has yet 
been found in Brandon high schools, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.

There has been an increase in both the use and sale of other drugs 
among high school students, he said.

Osiowy added that he witnessed a drug deal take place just outside 
school property yesterday when he was driving home for lunch.

"What's happening in our high schools, I find, literally mirrors what 
happens in our community," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Elizabeth Wehrman