Pubdate: Tue, 04 Jul 2006
Source: Langley Advance (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Matthew Claxton
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Cheap and Dangerous, Crystal Meth Was Put Under the Microscope at a 
Community Forum on Wednesday.

The toll one drug can take on individuals, families, and a community
was discussed Wednesday night at Langley's first public forum on

The forum, held in the presentation theatre at the Langley Township
hall, brought together parents, police, health officials, and the
business community.

"Unfortunately, crystal meth has hit our community and is ruining the
lives of people," said Township Councillor Mel Kositsky as he opened
the meeting.

The drug, a potent stimulant, is cheap, easily available, and can be
made in any basement with over-the-counter ingredients.

Superintendent Janice Armstrong, head of the Langley RCMP detachment,
said the local police want to tackle the source of the drug supply.

The Meth Watch program gets retailers to keep track of their supplies
of chemicals and medicines that could wind up in crystal meth.

Continuing with anti-drug education programs like DARE is also a
priority, she said, adding that the RCMP also need to work with
existing addicts, getting more rehab, detox, and transitional housing.

The community approach was also emphasized by Sgt. Scott Rintoul,
provincial coordinator of the RCMP's Drug and Organized Crime
Awareness Service.

"It truly has to be everyone in the community working together to
solve this problem," Rintoul said.

He talked about the effects he has seen among addicts and young
abusers of meth: "It is an ugly, ugly drug," he said.

Everything from dropping out of school to overdose deaths have been
caused by crystal meth, said Rintoul. It is also well known for
causing addicts to lose their teeth through rapid rotting, a condition
called "meth mouth."

Meth also comes as a hidden ingredient in other illegal drugs. Up to
70 per cent of the ecstasy seized by police also contained meth, he

Langley School District's Barry MacDonald talked about helping kids
make informed choices.

"We can't try to steer kids away by scaring them, but we need to give
them accurate information," MacDonald said.

Schools are now targeting kids in Grades 5, 7, 8, and 10 with
education programs, and is trying to get the DEWY Program funded for
existing teenaged drug abusers ["Delays anger council, trustees,"
Langley Advance, June 23].

The crowd of about 120 people also watched a 32-minute film, "Cold As
Ice," presented by Kevin Letourneau, an addictions expert with Peach
Arch Community Services.

Featuring interviews with Langley RCMP and Langley City Fire
Department officials, as well as recovering addicts and medical
professionals, it outlines the threats the drug poses.

Firefighters have dealt with dangerous chemicals, and cleaning up mess
from abandoned or busted meth labs can be costly. The toxic chemical
byproducts of the lab are often dumped into ditches or storm drains or
flushed into sewers.

Guest speaker Kerry Jackson gave a personal account of how she dealt
with her own son's methamphetamine addiction: Ryan killed himself in
2002. He was in a deep depression after attempting to go cold turkey
from both meth and anti-depressants.

The last year of Ryan's life was a roller coaster of addiction, job
loss, psychotic episodes, and five hospital admissions in 10 months.

After the speakers were done, the audience had some tough questions
for a panel that included MP Mark Warawa and MLA Mary Polak.

One woman lashed out at B.C. Children and Family Services, saying she
never received help for her son when he needed it. Now he is a
28-year-old addict.

"I'm just waiting to get a phone call when he's dead," the woman

When audience members asked why addicts can't be forced into
treatment, Harald Urstad, a teacher in the substance abuse program at
UCFV, noted that it was tried in Norway, and it didn't work.

Separating fiction from facts, and trying to find out what works and
what doesn't is a necessity for future treatment, Urstad said.

Several panelists said there is a need for treatment on demand. When
an addict is finally ready to admit a problem, immediate treatment is

Warawa acknowledged that prison is not the best place for addicts:
"Generally, people who go to prison do not come out better, they come
out worse."

While meth was the focus of the evening, panelists didn't forget to
mention other substances, from tobacco and alcohol to cocaine, heroin
or prescription medications.

"I get asked all the time, what's the worst drug out there, and the
answer's so simple," said Rintoul. "It's the drug you like most."

The next part of the community strategy is to hold forums in every
school with a Grade 7 class in Langley, Kositsky said. The Sunrise
Rotary club has also bought copies of a meth-education video, Death by
Jib, for every school in Langley.

[For a backgrounder on methamphetamines, see our website at]. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake