Pubdate: Fri, 23 Jun 2006
Source: Esquimalt News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Esquimalt News
Author: Mark Browne
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine - Canada)


Esquimalt has secured funding along with other municipalities to
tackle the ongoing problem with crystal methamphetamine.

The municipality is receiving $10,000 from the Union of B.C.
Municipalities, part of a provincial government plan to address the
crystal meth problem. Esquimalt has so far received $7,500 and the
balance will be handed over once a report is compiled for the
Community Responses to Crystal Methamphetamine program.

The money Esquimalt receives will be pooled together with cash
received by other Greater Victoria-area municipalities and treated as
a region-wide program, said Esquimalt Mayor Chris Clement.

"That was the thinking, that the various communities would apply and
then we'd pool the resources to get a bigger bang for our the buck,"
he said.

The Capital Region's municipalities will essentially allocate money to
the Crystal Meth Victoria Society, which will in turn finance programs
to educate youths about the harsh realities associated with the drug,
said society president Mark McLaughlin. However, he noted that rather
than waiting for the money to come through, the society has already
begun visiting schools to raise awareness about the dangers of crystal

"The take-home message is we are delivering the meth information
presentation to all the area middle schools and high schools,"
McLaughlin said.

The society is presenting a 45-minute show to students at schools
across the region.

The presentation is backed by a 190-page resource kit that is supplied
to each school free of charge. The program is receiving strong support
from the school district and the Vancouver Island Health Authority,
McLaughlin said.

The presentation, which includes a Power Point slide show and a
17-minute video, has received good reviews from students and teachers,
he said.

The presentation was made to students at Esquimalt high school earlier
this year.

The show includes a a display of all of the items that make up a
crystal meth lab, including empty containers which would normally
contain substances used to make crystal meth labelled with skulls and
crossbones and other images to demonstrate the hazardous nature of the
drug's ingredients.

So far, the presentation is having a powerful impact.

"When we do the question-and-answer period, at the end of each show
there are just tons and tons of hands up. People ask questions for 20,
30 minutes onwards," he said.

Many youths become involved with crystal meth without realizing the
serious repercussions.

"Because they're taken by surprise by it we want to minimize that
surprise by letting them know ahead of time what the street drug
called crystal meth is all about," McLaughlin said.

Many youths who McLaughlin has spoken to following the presentations
said they would never touch crystal meth after learning about the
dangers of the drug.

"They're very hungry for this information - and they ask dozens and
dozens of questions at the end of each presentation," he said.

The crystal meth that's on the streets these days is much more
powerful than the drug was in the 1970s, McLaughlin said. The new drug
is more addictive, more toxic and more widespread, he pointed out.

"And you can make it under your sink," McLaughlin said. "We need a
community-wide program of education to inform people about this stuff."
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