Pubdate: Wed, 07 Mar 2007
Source: Lakeside Leader, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2007 The Lakeside Leader
Bookmark: (Youth)


Crack cocaine is apparently plentiful in Slave Lake. Plentiful, and
cheaper than it once was, thanks to the downward pressure caused by
the even cheaper methamphetamine, better known as 'crystal meth' or
simply 'meth.'

The latter is highly addictive, the experts say, and as it doesn't
have to be smuggled into the country (it's made here), it costs a lot
less. It must be tempting for someone willing to make a living outside
the law. Apparently there is no shortage of these types.

Who is it, exactly, who makes hard drugs available to kids at parties?
Who are these people?

The figures on methamphetamine addiction rates are astonishing. As
many as 90 per cent of first-time users get addicted. Addicts are
pathetic souls, easy to sympathize with for what they face, but not
for what they do.

What addicts do, often, is steal to support their habit, lie to cover
it up and consequently destroy trust in their families and
friendships. It wrecks lives, plain and simple, leading to great

This week's court report in The Leader provides an example of how bad
it can get. A young man was before the judge last week for a couple of
outrageous incidents of shoplifting. Asked why he did it, he replied
simply: 'Because I'm a drug addict.'

End of story.

In Montreal last week, at the other end of the scale, a policeman lost
his life when he was shot in the head in a drug raid.

In another local case this paper is familiar with, the litany of lies,
theft and broken promises stemming from a young man's cocaine
addiction have all but destroyed a once close family.

It doesn't get better. In another story in this week's paper, town
councillor Rob Irwin passes on the news that pushers of addictive
drugs are creating markets for themselves by slipping meth into less
harmful drugs. Evil is the only word to describe such actions. It can
turn decent kids into animals, useless to themselves and society as
their lives revolve around getting their next hit.

So what do we do about it? Is there any hope at all or do we just have
to accept that a certain percentage of our young people are going to
hit the ditch and probably stay there?

One thing we can do is support the efforts of a substance abuse task
force. Another is not to try to protect our kids from information
about drug addiction, as harsh as it can be. That's a tough call,
sometimes, but the head-in-the-sand approach doesn't seem to be
working very well.

If there are evil drug profiteers out there actively dreaming up ways
of hooking our kids, we should be joining the battle, somehow.
Education is the first thing, followed by prevention, enforcement and

This may be the fight that defines our society in this generation and
those to come.

If so, let's get on with it.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek