Pubdate: Thu, 08 Dec 2005
Source: Rocky View Times (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 Rocky View Times.
Author: Anne Beaty
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine - Canada)


Education A Key Component To Combat The Dangerous Drug In

Sun Media -- Although Airdrie does not seem to have yet been impacted
by the methamphetamine wave which has been sweeping North America --
and countries around the globe -- an initiative is in the works to
stop the problem before it starts.

"Our goal is to keep Airdrie free of meth," Airdrie RCMP Cst. Richard
Fournier said. "So far so good."

Currently, a multidisciplinary committee is being formed to address
methamphetamine issues in the community and how best to combat them.

To kick off the initiative, two presentations were given Monday to
representatives from social services, the Airdrie police committee,
Airdrie Emergency Services, pharmacists and other community members.

The first step, Fournier said, is to educate the public about the
dangers of methamphetamine -- from addiction to community safety issues.

To that end, the Monday presentations were designed to inform first
responders, those people who might initially come in contact with a
person addicted to meth.

Educating the public on how to recognize symptoms of meth addiction,
as well as signs of criminal activity associated with meth usage and
production of the drug, is another aim.

"What we're trying to do is get a preventative program in place in
Airdrie," Fournier said.

Also known as speed, crank, glass, ice, jib and shards,
methamphetamine comes in three main types: dextro-methamphetamine, or
d-methamphetamine; dextro-levo methamphetamine, or dl-methamphetamine;
and levo-methamphetamine, or l-methamphetamine.

A water-soluble drug, meth can be taken in several ways, including
smoking, snorting, swallowing and injecting.

More potent than other forms, d-meth is the most widely abused form of
the drug.

As a central nervous system stimulant, its effects include increased
heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and breathing rate.
Although tolerance to d-meth develops quickly, physical risks include
stroke, heart failure and prolonged psychosis.

Three patterns of meth abuse are exhibited: low-intensity, binge and

Meth users can go for days without sleeping, rendering them prone to
erratic, paranoid, sometimes psychotic behaviour, along with resorting
to crime to pay for their addiction.

"These people are very much out of control," said RCMP Sgt. Harold
Trupish, of K Division's chemical precursor program.

For Trupish, an important part of his job entails getting full and
correct information to the right people.

He has been travelling the province, speaking with community groups
about methamphetamine and the drug's widespread effects.

"We're trying to get people aware," he said.

"It's important for people to get the right information."

According to Trupish, rural areas are just as vulnerable as urban
municipalities, especially given recent meth lab busts and epidemics
of abuse in rural Alberta communities.

As such, the Echo will be continuing its coverage of the
methamphetamine issue in more detail in the coming months.

For more information on methamphetamine, visit the AADAC web site at
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