The ugly truth

Presentation gives businesses information on meth abuse

If you go

What: "Drugs in the Workplace" seminar

Where: Holiday Inn of Craig, 300 S. Colorado Highway 13

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Sponsored by Craig Chamber of Commerce and Communities Overcoming Meth Abuse. Cost is $15, which includes lunch. For more information, call Christina Currie at 824-5689.

Sunken skin, poor oral hygiene and hyperactivity are just three of the typical traits that could indicate an addiction to methamphetamines.

However, Tom Cramer and Ryan Hess contend that there is no such thing as "typical" when it comes to meth abuse. After struggling with it personally for 12 years, Cramer knows firsthand, and Hess deals with it from a different perspective - the law.

The two will be part of the "Drugs in the Workplace" seminar hosted by Craig Chamber of Commerce and Communities Overcoming Meth Abuse. Alongside Moffat County Sheriff's Office patrol deputy Hess, Cramer will present the facts about meth at the forum, which starts at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Holiday Inn of Craig.

"We've got a presentation that will really shock some people," Cramer said. "Instead of just talking about some of the statistics, we'll be showing before and after pictures of Craig residents who have had problems with meth. Some of them are really bad. When you transpose them against each other, you would think they have AIDS or cancer, because they've lost so much weight."

Outward signs such as this no longer plague Cramer, who has been clean for about five years since embracing Christianity and graduating from the 12-step program at Celebrate Recovery.

"Nobody knew that I had a problem for so long," he said. "That's why it's hard for businesses to identify meth addicts, because their best, fastest worker may be on the drug, and they don't want to admit that until he starts crashing."

Although Cramer will give a former addict's viewpoint, and Hess will have a lawman's approach to the problem, offering a question-and-answer session.

"We're trying to make it fluid for the audience," Hess said. "Businesses wants to know who to look for, so they don't hire an addict, but in reality, there's no way to tell for certain. It can be anyone from 14 to 97."

Hess is a member of the COMA education board and is the Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer for Craig schools.

Cramer is on the executive board of COMA and thinks he and Hess have an approach to the presentation that will make it more personable.

"You have Ryan on one side, and me on another, and we're talking about the same thing from different views," he said. "For me, it's like a mini-testimony, because I know that there are good people who have a problem with meth addiction. I believe that anybody can be rehabilitated."

Christina Currie, Chamber of Commerce executive director, plans to follow with similar seminars called the Business Education Series. Future topics will include Internet usage in business, health insurance and basic job skills, the last of which will have an aim directed toward teenagers in the workplace.

"Our goal is to provide the most timely information in the most timely manner," she said. "It's tailored to our community, and good participation will make these seminars successful."

The seminar costs $15 and will include lunch.

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 875-1796.

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