Pubdate: Wed, 04 Apr 2007
Source: Terrace Standard (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Terrace Standard
Author: Dustin Quezada
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Youth)


IF THE widely held assumption is true that youth are impressionable,
then a series of public education sessions should go a long way toward
steering teenagers away from trying Crystal Meth.

Through visits to area junior and senior high schools, the goal is to
reach every teen in Terrace, says one of the presenters.

"The idea is that every student sees the presentation," said Sandy
Watson, an addictions counsellor with Northwest Addiction Services.

Watson, whose role was to answer questions around Crystal Meth and
drugs and addictions issues in general, was joined in the
presentations by Const. Rochelle Patenaude of the Terrace RCMP and
motivational speaker Carmen Charbonneau, a recovering Meth addict.

Charbonneau's story is a sad and heartwrenching one of decades-long
drug and alcohol abuse that inevitably brings not only her but her
audience to tears.

"I hope you can get something in my story from your life that you
won't do," said Charbonneau, choking up.

Two classes of students from Skeena Junior Secondary School last week
who sounded like typical chatty, high energy teens when they sat down
turned quickly attentive and sombre during Charbonneau's talk.

"It meant so much to hear from somebody that's been there," said
Watson of Charbonneau.

Watson followed with some of the disturbing facts and trends around
the drug.

"We're here to give you the facts and consequences of what can happen
(when you do drugs)," said Watson, standing in front of a board
displaying some of the ingredients -- some which are toxic -- that go
into the making of the drug.

Those include such items as gasoline additives, paint thinner,
acetone, camp stove fuel, drain cleaner, ephedrine and iodine crystals.

Disturbingly, added Watson, analyses are now finding DNA from Meth
makers in the drug.

"It's a (Meth) cook's signature," said Watson. "People are peeing,
vomiting, shitting in it."

Another trend is that the powdered substance is increasingly being
laced into other illicit drugs.

Provincial stats from the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. show
that 70-75 per cent of Ecstasy is being cut with Meth.

"It's found in just about everything," added Watson, citing cocaine,
alcohol -- even marijuana.

Patenaude said police are finding pot is being laced with a Meth

She says instead of stereotypical crazy, goofy, hungry for munchies
behaviours linked to pot smoking, people are exhibiting symptoms, such
as paranoia, linked to Meth use.

That was the case with a young man police found recently wandering the
streets barefoot at 3 a.m. According to Patenaude, he said he was
being hunted down by snipers.

To top off the presentation, the short film Death by Jib was

Produced by Peace Arch Community Services and filmed in the Lower
Mainland, it explores the truths and lies that exist around Meth.

In graphic scenes, the film shows a Meth addict injecting into a sore
in his arm; in another, paramedics find a deceased addict in a hotel
room in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

"[Meth] will kill you," one of the addicts says matter of factly in
the film.

Another addict, a toothless Downtown Eastside prostitute says Meth is
the worst drug she knows and that using it will lead others to her

"It was kind of disturbing how someone can throw away everything (for
their addiction)," said 15-year-old Cassandra Kinney, one of the
Skeena Junior students who witnessed the presentation.

Kinney said much of what she heard she already knew but what was new
to her was that Crystal Meth was being found in other drugs.

"More kids should be aware," said Kinney, adding she thinks similar
presentations should be made to even younger students.

"When I was in Grade 7, kids would say they never would smoke pot or
cigarettes and now many of them do," she said, adding she wouldn't
doubt if similar vows are being said by teens about Meth.

Watson says she's been impressed with the questions and responses from
students and teachers.

"The feedback we're getting (about Meth) is, 'We understand, we get
it,'" she said, adding teens are pressing for information on other

The presentations, which will finish this week, are paid for by the
Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine's Crystal Meth Advisory Committee

Watson says she and her colleagues are available throughout the year
to speak to community groups about alcohol, drug or gambling addictions.
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