Pubdate: Wed, 02 Mar 2005
Source: Esquimalt News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Esquimalt News
Author: Vern Faulkner
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Approximately 200 people flocked to the Esquimalt Recreation Centre to
learn more about the perils of crystal meth.

It isn't a pretty world, said presenter Chris Goble, a key worker with
the Victoria Youth Empowerment Society and coordinator of Specialized
Youth Detox.

While he stopped short of calling crystal meth a growing epidemic, he
noted crystal meth as the drug of choice for a vast preponderance of
youths coming in for detox.

In 2001, a mere 11 per cent of detox clients used the drug - in
2003-04, that shifted to 62 per cent.

"The other thing that's shifted is that in 2001, it was 75-per-cent
male, in 2003 its 65-per-cent female," Goble said, noting increased
use among younger teens.

The increased use in young women apparently stems from a desire to
lose weight.

"There's this myth that they can lose 20-30 pounds, then quit. They
can lose the weight, because they're not eating and not sleeping - but
by the time they lose the weight, they've got a full-blown addiction."

It's a tragic fall-out from societal pressures, said

"Women are supposed to have a certain body type - but most don't fit
that body type."

For that reason alone, crystal meth use transcends demographics: it's
just as likely to be used by the private-schooled daughter of a
wealthy family as a child in a middle-income or poverty-stricken home.

Parents should look for the use of traditional "gateway" or
experimental drugs - tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana - as warning
signs. "We don't get a lot of kids saying that they're 14 and crystal
meth is the first drug they've tried."

Further, said Goble, there's no such thing as recreational crystal
meth use.

"You can recreationally use alcohol and marijuana... I've never heard
that with crystal meth."

Users "either quit and don't like it, won't ever use it gain, or that
becomes their drug of choice and that's all they'll use."

The drug - a stimulant - is powerfully addictive, and in many ways
desirable because it is easily made, affordable, and provides a
long-term "high" for relatively little cost.

A $10-$15 "point" keeps a user high for two to five hours, whereas a
similar dose of cocaine would only keep a user high for about 30
minutes," said Goble.

A former addict recently related her tale to an affiliated newspaper
in the interior, in hopes others would not fall into the meth trap.

"Meth actually changes the way you think," she said. Even after five
years going clean, certain scents, lighting, or other stimuli still
trigger her craving for the drug.

"I was raising a family, working full time, working nights, active in
many community groups such as PAC, Block Parent programs, and more,"
said the woman. "I was trying to be super mom and crystal meth had me
believing I was."

Victoria police Insp. Gord Gummer noted little complexity to the
manufacture of crystal meth. That said, meth labs pose many risks due
to volatility and toxicity of the ingredients.

If police witness growing meth use in Esquimalt, that's only the sign
of a trend "in all communities," Gummer noted, though there's not a
great problem in this community.

Education - prevention - are the greatest tools, ensuring that people
simply don't try the drug.

"One or two consumptions, and you can be addicted," he said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek