Pubdate: Wed, 18 Apr 2007
Source: Belleville News-Democrat (IL)
Copyright: 2007 Belleville News-Democrat
Author: Beth Hundsdorfer
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


BELLEVILLE - Educators, counselors, court personnel and police met 
today at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snow for the 
Metro-East Coalition Against Methamphetamine Conference.

The coalition's goal is to stamp out methamphetamine to create safe 
families and communities.

"People just get engulfed with it," said Illinois State Police Sgt. 
Joe Beliveau, head of the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of 
Southwestern Illinois. "All they can do is want more and more."

Drug users will do anything to get the drug, causing a spike in 
property crime in communities, Beliveau said.

In 2002, Marissa Police Chief Mike Kerperien said crimes such as 
theft, domestic batteries and burglaries went up 120 percent in his 
small town before 19 residents were arrested by federal agents. They 
were charged with conspiring in a drug ring to produce and sell 

Part of what makes methamphetamine so dangerous, Beliveau said, is 
because users display violent and erratic behavior, and because the 
drug is so addictive.

"Ten percent of people who use alcohol will become addicted," 
Beliveau said. "Ninety-eight percent of people who use 
methamphetamine will become addicted."

Police continue to uncover meth labs -- in barns and sheds, in the 
woods, in cars and even in hotel rooms. Each lab costs $3,500 to 
disassemble and decontaminate, Beliveau said.

The conference attracted law enforcement, school and courts officials 
from around the metro-east.

On Wednesday, the conference also featured Lori Moriarty, of the 
National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, who educates the 
public on the hazards of labs and the effects on the children living 
in dangerous drug environments.

The confernce continues Thursday.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman