Pubdate: Fri, 27 Apr 2007
Source: Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV)
Copyright: 2007 Nevada Appeal
Author: Barry Ginter, Editor
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


The stories about meth addict Mary Reasoner we printed Sunday through 
Thursday brought a variety of reactions, ranging from anger that we 
would run such disturbing information to praise for bringing to light 
the dark world of meth.

And it's a well populated world, even in this small town. Reporter 
Teri Vance, after observing the Sheriff's Department Special 
Enforcement Team in action pursuing drug dealers and users, wrote, 
"Like cockroaches moving about in the darkness, an entire 
civilization comes to life in this town when the sun goes down."

For those who ask why we would devote so much space to one drug 
addict who ultimately ends up in jail, part of the answer is that 
this story was not just about Mary Reasoner. In fact, there is little 
unique about this woman, a meth addict and mother.

There's no way to tell how many like her live in our neighborhoods, 
but in a conversation with Sheriff Kenny Furlong I asked if there 
might be dozens of mothers in this city addicted to meth.

"I would say there's many more than that," he replied.

Statistics tell us that Nevada's meth problem is greater than any 
other state. Happy endings are uncommon. Mary Reasoner's story began 
with the notion that it would have an inspirational message, but now 
she's in prison.

For Mary, you have to wonder what will represent a real turning point 
if it did not come from whatever inspired her to ask that her story 
be shared with thousands of people.

Her final words of the series, "I'm going to win this battle - 
believe that!" were written from a prison. Does anyone, after reading 
about her repeated failures, really believe those words? I'm pretty 
sure the answer is no, for most readers. But it's Mary who must 
believe, and there is still a chance she'll prove all of us wrong. I 
hope so: She will be out of prison and back in Carson City in about a year.

There is help out there for anyone who wants it, and there are some 
who do escape the drug world and the super-addictive pull of meth. 
Several people have sent us their stories since this series ran, and 
some of them will be featured in Sunday's paper.

I also hope that she also has achieved the goal she hoped for when 
she first contacted the Appeal newsroom: to let the community know 
that this drug is evil. Don't try it, not even once.

Were we trying to gain sympathy for Mary in these stories? Not even close.

The truth is Mary Reasoner belongs in prison. She committed crimes 
and harmed many people in her single-minded pursuit to get money to 
get high. Our law enforcement officers put themselves in danger every 
night hunting people like her, not just for using drugs, but for 
committing crimes to get money to buy more drugs. More than half the 
crimes in our city are believed to be drug-related.

But the ugliest truth in the stories has nothing to do with the 
addicts themselves.

It's the children.

How can any child with meth addicts as caregivers and role models 
grow up free of similar problems?

There are probably hundreds of these children in our schools. Many of 
them are getting help from mentoring programs or CASA, but many are 
not. For them, living with drug addicts is just another day.

We hope Mary's children break the cycle, and there is good reason for 
that hope. They do have people in their lives who care about them and 
make sure they are involved in activities. We hope they use the 
scholarship funds we're setting up for them, $500 each to start and 
$1 from each new subscription. If you're interested in contributing, 
just contact me.

Finally, I am proud of the work done by our reporter, Teri Vance, and 
photographer, Brad Horn. Teri and Brad went out night after night 
with no agenda other than to find the truth about Mary's life and, by 
extension, the truth about the No. 1 problem in Carson City. They 
walked into unsafe situations and found their ways around obstacle 
after obstacle in pursuit of the story.

I'm also proud to be at a paper that supports and encourages such 
efforts, including publisher John DiMambro, who didn't flinch when 
told of the content of the photos and words that would be appearing 
this week. And it was former editor Barry Smith at the helm when the 
project began. He is now an active member of Partnership Carson City, 
a group with a very ambitious goal - get rid of meth in Carson City.

If you missed the stories, you can still find them online at We'll share more reaction in Sunday's Appeal.

Barry Ginter is editor of the Appeal.