Recovering addicts provide guidance on meth
Members of the Communities Overcoming Methamphetamine Abuse task force provided updates about the work of their committees Thursday, but not without getting sidetracked discussing the insider’s view of the meth drug culture.
Several recovering addicts provided some frank advice about areas the committee should consider when forming a comprehensive game plan to stem the tide of meth use in the community.
Executive committee members asked several pointed questions about how the addicts came to grips with their destructive habits. Montie Mehsling, a Denver resident and a friend of committee member Neil Folks, described his run-ins with the law and the backsliding effect of bumping into friends who were using when he was trying to stay clean. Ultimately, he found the help he needed with a self-help tome, “Rational Recovery,” which he recommended as a must-read for committee members.
Some addicts shy away from 12-steps programs because it reinforces their feelings of impotence, he said.
“I didn’t have to turn my life over to some higher power,” he said. “I was the higher power.”
One woman wanted to know about the educational billboard the task force plans to erect around town showing the physiological effects of drug use on a user’s face. Such scare tactics work to prevent meth use, but do little to encourage a user to seek help, she said.
“Meth is ugly. We know what it does to people,” the woman said, adding that a more positive message may help people understand that they can have a better life through recovery.
During the committee reports, Folks said he’s had an uphill battle enlisting the help of some pastors around Craig to participate in the outreach program.
The education committee, led by Cindy Biskup, determined that awareness campaigns have to be tailored for specific audiences: users and nonusers. The committee is working on targeted messaging for four levels of users: potential users, “status quo” users (those who enjoy their habits), users who want to get clean but don’t know how, and recovering addicts trying to stay clean.
Biskup also recommended an educational campaign to explain why the City Council is considering locking up cold and sinus medicines that contain psuedoephedrine. The public doesn’t comprehend that communities across the country are taking similar steps to block meth cooks from the supplies they need to manufacture the drug, she said.
Business committee chairman Richard Haslem, who owns Northwest Colorado Financial Group, said local business owners want to help, but don’t want to be viewed solely as a source of funding. They also suggested that C.O.M.A. “not reinvent the wheel.
“Let’s find out what worked in other places and do that,” Haslem said.
Haslem noted that many small-business owners simply aren’t equipped to spot the signs of meth abuse in their employees.
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