There’s no magic wand to stop meth,
but there are things we can do
During July and August, the Sanpete Messenger ran a multi-part, in-depth report about meth in Sanpete County.
We learned a lot from our reporting. We didn’t come up with any magic wand to make the meth disaster go away. We do believe we found things government and we as citizens can do that will help the problem.
First, we learned how terrible meth is. It damages the brain. It can make someone permanently, biochemically depressed. It can trigger schizophrenia. Ultimately it adds decades to a user’s biological age.
A county probation officer who works with meth addicts said, “Meth is a very, very nasty drug” that ruins people quickly. “It ruins their body, their life.”
An attorney who has represented meth users in court said, “Avoid it like the plague.”
And a meth user who ended up getting involved in a murder and who is now in prison said simply, “Meth is the devil.”
We also learned how prevalent meth is in Sanpete County. Users can purchase meth in Salt Lake County, bring it to Sanpete, sell most of it, and have enough to satisfy their own needs at no cost.
A recovering meth addict told us meth was available on the street corner in Gunnison. We’re sure the same applies to almost all towns in the county.
We learned that meth, because it speeds up people’s emotions and clouds judgment, frequently triggers violence.
One man in his 20s who was interviewed for our series described what happened growing up in a home where meth was being used.
While he cried himself to sleep in the bedroom, his step-father severely beat his mother and even fired a gun. The bullet hit the bathtub.
The murders of LeRoy and Dorthea Fullwood, a lovely couple enjoying their retirement in Mt. Pleasant, happened because addicts were trying to steal money and property to get meth.
In the course of a robbery, Logan McFarland shot and killed the Fullwoods. He is now in prison for life with no possibility of parole.
What can be done?
We as citizens need to be informed about the characteristics of meth use. If you didn’t read the meth articles when they came out in the paper, you can read them at http://www.sanpetemessenger.com. There are links to it on the home page.
If you see what looks like meth use, report it. Most recovering addicts told us their lives were saved only when they were arrested, sent to jail and had some time to begin clearing their heads.
Growing up in a meth household programs a child to become a meth user.
If you know of children who are in meth households, report the situation to the police and the Division of Child and Family Services. We believe the state should remove such children from their homes without equivocation.
More foster parents are needed in Sanpete County to take in endangered children. Very possibly, that means you. We have many high functioning families in the county with successful children. It would mean the world to those children if some of them would step up and become foster parents.
Once addicts start the recovery process, they need transitional housing so they don’t have to go back to their drug community. At a recent meeting, officials of USDA Rural Development said the agency might be able to make foreclosed homes available. The county commission and Central Utah Counseling Center need to pursue that possibility.
Finally, one of the biggest needs of recovering addicts is human connection. Inability to find that connection can send them straight back to the meth pipe.
We all need to leave judgment to God and be open to everybody. When you encounter people who don’t seem to be doing well in life, who may be using drugs, who may even be using meth, find a way to get them talking, take time to listen, draw them into your family, your social circle and your ward or church.
We as a community can’t give up in the battle against meth or in the battle to save a single addict.