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                 GOOD READS • GOOD FUN • GOOD IDEAS                                             SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2005
                                                                                                                          PULLOUT SECTION B


High on meth and
beset by ‘demons,’
a naked man twists
on wires after flinging
himself from a window

The menace of

CRYSTAL
METH
in downtown
Vancouver. Rescued
unhurt, he has now
sworn off the deadly
drug: ‘I feel like this is
my last chance.’ B3
                             After this near-death experience last month, this man has vowed to give up drugs for good.   JACK SIMPSON — FOR THE PROVINCE
          B2 ❘ UNWIND       ❘ THE PROVINCE                                                                                                                                                      SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2005




                                   T H E M E N A C E O F C R Y S TA L M E T H
                                   Educating you and your community



                                   ‘He was in hell,’ says
           1998      2004




                                    mom who lost her boy
Grieving mother tells of doomed                                                                                                                                                            PUBLIC
                                                                                                                                                                                           FORUMS
attempt to get treatment for son                                                                                                                     Kerry Jackson pictured with
                                                                                                                                                     her son, Ryan, as a young boy.        O N C R Y S TA L
                                                                                                                                                                                           METH
                  BY MATTHEW RAMSEY            had been eating carbon and                                                                                                                    In conjunction with a
                            STAFF REPORTER     ground-up quartz. His mother
                                                                                                                                                                                           series of articles on crystal
                                               believes he was trying to soak up
                                                                                                                                                                                           meth beginning today and

K
        erry Jackson knows the evil            the drugs in his system.
        power of crystal meth. The               “He was in hell,” she says. “I didn’t                                                                                                     continuing all this week,
        toxic drug drove her son to            see any way out for him.”                                                                                                                   The Province is hosting four
his death at the age of 26, and now              Jackson taped her son’s phone                                                                                                             community forums.
she fights to save others from the             messages in a desperate attempt to                                                                                                            The gatherings will bring
same hell that took her only child.            convince authorities he posed a                                                                                                             together health-care
  To that end, despite her grief,              danger to himself and others and                                                                                                            professionals, police and
Jackson agreed to take part in a               should be detained, even against
                                                                                                                                                                                           addicts and their families
recently produced video, Death by              his will.
Jib, a stark, 18-minute chronicle of             “He was psychotic, talking gibber-                                                                                                        who will talk frankly about
the horrors of meth.                           ish, nonsense, all day,” she recalls                                                                                                        the impact of the drug and
  In it, she plays the recorded                of a lunch date in 2001.                                                                                                                    how its spread might be
phone message her son, Ryan, left                As they sat together on the beach                                                                                                         prevented.
on her answering machine just                  at English Bay, Ryan spun wild fan-                                                                                                           The public is invited to
weeks before his death.                        tasies of being trained as a ninja in                                                                                                       the forums, which are free.
  “Hey, Mom. You must be worried               Japan.
sick about me,” says the strained,                                        ❖                                                                                                                Kamloops
plaintive voice on the tape. “Please             On their way home, his distraught                                                                                                         Date: April 26, 2005
don’t be worried. I’m fine . . . I’m           mother stopped the car at a gas sta-                                                                                                        Time: 7-9 p.m.
looking to get balanced really fast. I         tion and called for Car 87 — the                                                                                                            Venue: Thompson
love you, Mom . . . [tears]. You don’t         Vancouver police vehicle that is
                                                                                                                                                                                           Rivers University —
have to worry any more. We can go              tasked with dealing with the
for a walk on the beach.”                      mentally ill.                                                                                                                               The Grand Hall,
  On the night of Jan. 13, 2002, Ryan            She was told it would take three to                                                                                                       900 McGill Rd.,
Jackson was seen balancing on a                four hours for the car to get there.                                                                                                        Kamloops
railing on the northeast side of Van-          By the time it arrived, Ryan’s psy-
couver’s Cambie Street Bridge.                 chosis had retreated.                                                                                                                       Victoria
  A passerby tried to talk him down.             “He was himself again, lucid and                                                                                                          Date: May 2, 2005
Ryan told her he was breaking up               talking straight,” Jackson says.                                                                                                            Time: 7-9 p.m.
inside “on a cellular level.” He                 Car 87 did not take her son.                    Ryan was no thief. He found other              way to save other children from
                                                                                                                                                                                           Venue: Oak Bay High West
asked: “Is it going to hurt?” then               On a later occasion, Ryan was                 ways to get money.                               falling into the addiction trap is
swan-dived to his death on the                 detained by police in Chilliwack                  His mother suspects he sold him-               through early education.                   — The Theatre (west build-
concrete below.                                while behaving erratically and was              self.                                              Parents need to be taught how to         ing), 2101 Cadboro Bay Rd.,
                    ❖                          admitted to a psychiatric ward.                   “He was a good boy; he didn’t                  recognize giveaway traits — things         Victoria
  Ryan had been diagnosed with                   On his release, he returned to his            want to hurt others. He really had               like Ryan Jackson’s impulsive
drug-induced bipolar disorder —                lodgings in Burnaby to find that                no other choice but to become a                  behaviour and his tendency to              Surrey
otherwise known as manic-                      everything he owned had been                    victim of the street,” she says.                 make unsound decisions.                    Date: May 3, 2005
depressive illness — and had been              stolen.                                           Jackson had done what she could.                 Jackson is taking her story public       Time: 7-9 p.m.
in and out of psychiatric wards four             Unable to deal with such set-                 But she could not force her son to               in the hope that others may be able        Venue: Bell Centre for the
times in 10 months.                            backs, his life spiralled further out           accept treatment.                                to help in developing a website
  But as with many similar victims,            of control.                                       She now thinks parents in her sit-             dedicated to early education and           Performing Arts,
he refused to accept that he was ill             He moved into a series of single-             uation should be able to force their             prevention efforts.                        6250-144th St.,
and had stopped taking his med-                room-only hotels. The key to his                adult children into rehab, even                    She can be reached at                    Surrey
ications.                                      last hotel room was in his pocket               against their will.                              kerry@2020parenting.com.
  A post-mortem exam showed he                 when he died.                                     She’s also convinced that the best                       mramsey@png.canwest.com          Vancouver
                                                                                                                                                                                           Date: May 5, 2005
                                        Crystal meth is                                                                                                                                    Time: 7-9 p.m.
Monday




                                                              Wednesday




                                                                                               Thursday




                                                                                                                               Friday




                                                                                                                                                              Sunday




         Reporter Matt                                                    Meth addicts have               Experts agree                 Drug experts                   A preview of what
                              Tuesday




                                        brewed in illegal                                                                                                                                  Venue: John Oliver
         Ramsey describes                                                 special treatment               prevention is the             south of the bor-              you can expect if
                                                                                                                                                                                           Secondary School —
         the struggles of               labs from ingredi-                needs, but even                 best cure for meth            der, where crystal-            you attend one of
                                                                                                                                                                                           Theatre,
         his cousin, a                  ents readily avail-               the government                  addiction, but                meth is rampant,               our special com-    530 East 41st Ave.,
         known crystal                  able in stores.                   admits resources                disagree on the               say the worst is               munity forums on    Vancouver
         meth addict.                   Critics ask, ‘Why?’               fall short in B.C.              right approach.               yet to come in B.C.            meth (see right).
SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2005                                                                                                                             THE PROVINCE ❘   UNWIND ❘ B3



Meth addict’s brush with death
He heard demons and flung himself from his window, but was saved by wires
BY MATTHEW RAMSEY
STAFF REPORTER




N
          ick spent the morning of Easter
          Sunday in his tiny hotel room,
          reading the book of Revelation,
listening to Christian radio — and doing
crystal meth.
  Thirty-six hours into the binge, apocalyp-
tic visions swirled in his head. The 31-year-
old sensed a biblical exodus under way on
the street below.
  Doves and crows flew past his window.
Whispered messages delivered a warning.
Demons were coming for the impure.
  Nick (he asks that his real name not be
used) stripped naked, paced and sweated,
climbed up and down on to the window
ledge. A crowd gathered on the corner of
Vancouver’s Pender and Abbott streets.
  Nick thought about the past five years of
his life as a meth addict. Lost friends and
girlfriends. Lost opportunity. It was time,
he thought, to make a leap of faith and
take direction from a higher power.
  Again, he climbed on to the ledge. The
window was flung wide. He “prayed to God
for a little push.”
  Then the police kicked his door in.
   Nick jumped.
  “It was just between me and God,” he
says. “Then reality hit, and I was dangling
on a wire 50 feet off the ground.”
  His saviour? Coiled overhead wires about                                                                                                                  ,
                                                                                                                          Crystal meth was “ruining his life” says the man who survived this
two metres beneath his window.                                                                                            plunge from his hotel window and is now drug-free.
  A week later, Nick was back in his little
room, sitting on his single bed and talking
lucidly about life. He’s open and sincere,
charismatic and self-deprecating. In a
manila envelope on the table next to the
window are the infamous photos of him,
naked, arms spread wide, hands gripping
the wire, body bent double.
  You can’t see his face in the photos, but
he’s talking to police. The officers are trying
to calm him down and stop him from let-
ting go. Even then, Nick’s meth-addled
brain told him the police and fire crews
above and below were evil.
  At the hospital, he begged doctors to kill
him, believing he faced torture at the
hands of his persecutors. The voices
wouldn’t stop for another few hours.
  Now, Nick manages a chuckle when he
leafs through the images of that day.
  “It’s amazing what jumping out of a
window will do for you,” he says with a
shake of his head. “I have a new lease on
life. I feel like this is my last chance.”
  And Nick isn’t wasting the opportunity.
  He hasn’t used meth since Easter.
  He’s in regular contact with a doctor and
a counsellor. He’s due to start a rehab pro-
gram in Maple Ridge later this month. He’s
also working closely with Vancouver police.
  The department’s Odd Squad, responsi-
ble for the acclaimed film Through a Blue
Lens, is documenting his road to recovery.
   Nick is happy to do all he can. For the
first time in a long time, he feels engaged
in something healthy.
  “It’s 100 per cent, without a doubt, the
crystal meth that’s ruining my life,” he says.    Clinging to wires, the young man talks with a police officer, seen in   Vancouver Fire Department emergency personnel use a ladder to
                   mramsey@png.canwest.com        the window above him. PHOTOS BY JACK SIMPSON — FOR THE PROVINCE         rescue ‘Nick’ after he jumped from his window.
         A8 ❘ NEWS ❘        THE PROVINCE                                                                                                                                 MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2005




                                 T H E M E N A C E O F C R Y S TA L M E T H
                                 Educating you and your community: Part 1



                                 My cousin feeds his
         1998        2004




                                 dream from a box he
                                 keeps beside his bed
                                                                                                                        A reporter’s search for a story
                                                                                                                        begins at home with a relative
BY A N Y NA M E,                                                                                                                                         STORIES BY
C R Y S TA L M E T H                                                                                                                                  MATTHEW RAMSEY
                                                                                                                                                        STAFF REPORTER
IS A KILLER
                                                                                                                                  y cousin Anthony’s home is a work in progress.
•   Crystal and crystal meth
are common street names
for methamphetamine, the
                                                                                                                        M         It’s a modified tool shed in someone else’s backyard. Just
                                                                                                                                  one room is protected from the dripping rain.
                                                                                                                          Anthony’s sketch of what he hopes the shack will one day look
                                                                                                                        like is pinned to a rough plywood wall.
most hyper-charged mem-                                                                                                   It’s impressive — a towering cedar shading a modernistic two-
                                                                                                                        storey home, complete with workshop.
ber of the amphetamine                                                                                                    But it’s a dream doomed to fail. The reason for that is stashed in a
drug family. Widely used in                                                                                             small wooden box next to Anthony’s bed.
the 1960s and early ’70s for                                                                                              The box contains crystal methamphetamine. Tiny shards of a
                                                                                                                        toxic drug made from industrial acids, camp fuel and cold medica-
its intense effects, crystal                                                                                            tion.
virtually disappeared in the                                                                                              Crystal meth was found in the bodies of 33 people in B.C. last
                                                                                                                        year, more than double the number in 2003, according to coroners’
mid-’70s, but has resur-                                                                                                statistics.
faced on a large scale in                                                                                                 I’d come looking for my cousin because I was pursuing a story on
recent years. Other names:                                                                                              the drug and I knew he was addicted to it.
                                                                                                                          The last time I saw him, in the fall of 2004, he was living well,
Crank, jib, go-                                                                                                         renting an apartment. At night, he collected metal from construc-
fast, speed.       In a scene from the instructional                                                                    tion sites. He spent a lot of his time in court, fighting for the right
                   video Death By Jib, shot in B.C., a                                                                  to see his infant son.
Smokable           young addict smokes crystal meth.                                                                      His addiction was eight years old. It won.
forms of crys-                                                                                                            Now, there is the shack and the wooden box next to the bed. One
tal are called “ice” or                                                                                                 line of meth in the morning and one line at night.
                                                                                                                          The drug gives him energy and helps him to concentrate. In his
“glass.” In appearance, it is                                                                                           mind, there’s lots to do. He has to gather material, tools, bits and
a white crystalline powder.                                                                                             pieces, put them together. The meth, Anthony says, helps.
                                                                                                                          But doctors and toxicologists who deal with addicts like Anthony
Although legal ampheta-                                                                                                 warn that someone with his history may eventually become
mine is odourless, illegal                                                                                              intensely paranoid as the toxins seep further into his system.
forms of the drug often                                                                                                   They say meth addicts can have terrible hallucinations, sense
have a strong ammonia                                                                                                                                                       Continued on next page
smell.


The B.C. Coroners Service
                                  The Province is spon-
                                  soring four community
                                                           forum is in Kamloops
                                                           on April 26. There will   COM I NG U P I N TH E PROVI NC E:
reports 33 people in B.C.
                                  forums on the subject
                                  of crystal-meth abuse.
                                                           be a forum in Victoria
                                                           on May 2, in Surrey on
                                                                                     Tuesday               Wednesday            Thursday              Friday                Sunday
                                                                                     Crystal meth is       Meth addicts have    Experts agree pre-    Drug experts          A preview of what
died with meth in their sys-      Medical experts, vic-    May 3 and in Vancou-
                                                                                     brewed in illegal     special treatment    vention is the best   south of the bor-     you can expect if
                                  tims, police, families   ver on May 5. For
tems in 2004, compared to         and addicts will talk    details, go to:           labs from ingredi-    needs, but even      cure for meth         der, where crystal    you attend one of
15 in 2003. The long-term         about prevention and     www.canada.com/van-       ents readily avail-   the government       addiction, but        meth is rampant,      our special commu-
trend shows deaths                treatment and answer     couver/theprovince/fe     able in stores.       admits resources     disagree on the       say the worst is      nity forums on meth
                                  questions from the       atures/crystalmeth/ind    Critics ask: ‘Why?’   fall short in B.C.   right approach.       yet to come in B.C.   (see panel at left).
increasing year by year           audience. The first      ex.html
over the past five years.
MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2005                                                                                                                                                  THE PROVINCE ❘   NEWS ❘ A9
From previous page
                                                                                                                                                                           As of 2003,
bugs skittering under their skin, hear
voices and see images of non-existent
people ghosting in and out of their
heads.
  Many show up at hospital with all of
the symptoms of paranoid schizo-
phrenia. Some are diagnosed drug-
                                                                                                                                                                           11%
                                                                                                                                                                            of all admissions
induced psychotic. Their minds end
up as fractured and fragile as broken                                                                                                                                       to community-
glass. It happens with meth.
  The lines on Anthony’s face, already
                                                                                                                                                                            addictions
traced too deep for a 33-year-old, are a                                                                                                                                    services in B.C.
roadmap to an uncertain future.
  Meth users’ hearts pump harder to                                                                                                                                         were for meth
keep their sleep-starved bodies
moving. Their chances, Anthony’s                                                                                                                                            misuse, up from
chances, of experiencing a blood clot
will increase. Likewise with strokes                                                                                                                                        four per cent
and heart-attacks.
  All of that happens, I learn, because
                                                                                                                                                                            in 1999.
of what’s in the little box by the bed.
  And, according to police and drug                                                                                                                                          Richmond addictions counsellor
experts, it’s happening to thousands of                                                                                                                                    Dr. Ray Baker says he’s seen meth
British Columbians as meth use and                                                                                                                                         addiction in the hospitality indus-
production grows and spreads.                                                                                                                                              try, in construction, forestry, fish-
  When The Province first reported                                                                                                                                         ing, the medical profession, law,
those grim coroners’ statistics in
                                                                                                                                         Skin sores from constant          among firefighters.
March, the newspaper was flooded
                                                                                                                                         picking are a sign of               Name the job and meth is there.
with letters from families across
                                                                                                                                         crystal-meth addiction.             It showed up last year as the drug
B.C. frantic with worry about                                                                                                                 Scene from Death by Jib      of choice for a ministerial assistant
their mothers, fathers, sisters,
brothers and cousins — their               •   Methamphetamine is an addic-                                                                                                working for the provincial govern-
                                                                                                                                                                           ment.


                                                                                       Meth ‘ravaging’
Anthonys.                                  tive stimulant drug that strongly                                                                                                 The addiction rate may be high-
  Over the past few weeks, I have          activates certain systems in the                                                                                                est among street youth, but it’s by
explored the extent of meth                                                                                                                                                no means limited to them.
addiction in communities across            brain. It is closely related chemical-                                                                                            Health Canada chemist Richard
B.C. and will be reporting on the          ly to amphetamine, but the effects                                                                                              Laing, who tests drug samples
problem in a series of articles all
this week. I have listened to har-
rowing tales, among them the
Vancouver woman’s who speaks
                                           of methamphetamine on the
                                           central nervous system are greater.         towns in B.C.                                                                       seized by police, says: “In almost
                                                                                                                                                                           all areas of the Lower Mainland,
                                                                                                                                                                           there’s been a modest to signifi-
                                                                                                                                                                           cant increase in meth [seized since
candidly of her only child’s strug-                                                            ast, cheap and out of control.       iwack, Mission, Abbotsford and         1998].”
gle against meth — and how it ended
one dark January night in suicide.
  For some concerned legislators, the
                                                      I S I T E C S TA S Y
                                                      OR IS IT
                                                                                       F       Methamphetamine is ripping
                                                                                               through B.C. communities
                                                                                       and across all demographics, from
                                                                                                                                    Squamish, where as many as half
                                                                                                                                    of drug exhibits seized by police in
                                                                                                                                    recent years come back from gov-
                                                                                                                                                                             A 2003 survey by the McCreary
                                                                                                                                                                           Centre Society determined that just
                                                                                                                                                                           four per cent of 30,500 high school
tragedy of crystal meth is the absence                                                 street kids to suburban house-               ernment labs identified as meth,       students questioned had ever used
of severe enough punishments to                       C R Y S TA L                     wives. The reasons, say police,              according to RCMP drug-aware-          amphetamines. But a smaller study
deter those who brew the deadly con-                  M ETH?                           counsellors and addicts, are rela-           ness Cpl. Scott Rintoul.               in 2003, conducted by Victoria GP
coction in homemade laboratories.                                                      tively simple. And the list is long.           Victoria’s Youth Empowerment         Doug McGhee, found that an aver-
  For others, it’s the easy availability of           Crystal meth is replacing            Meth is cheap and easy to make           Society is tracking what it calls “a   age of five per cent of students in
the materials that go into making the                 ecstasy as the drug used         using ingredients you can buy in             vast increase in crystal metham-       Grades 9 through 12 had tried
drug. They are asking whether tighter                                                  your local hardware store. A new             phetamine use among youth.”            methamphetamines.
restrictions wouldn’t cut the flow off at             by teenagers and young           user will feel a sense of accom-               It found that 11 per cent of its       However, McGhee notes, 12 per
its source.                                           adults in the rave and           plishment and satisfaction, ener-            clients in 2000-01 were meth users.    cent (including the five per cent of
  Looming over the picture in B.C. is                 dance scene, police say. It’s    gy and purpose. They can work                By 2003-04, the figure was 63 per      meth users) reported taking ecsta-
the experience of such U.S. cities as                                                  harder for longer. Meth enhances             cent. As of March 11, 143 of the 267   sy. Considering RCMP reports that
Everett in Washington state, where                    cheaper, at $10 for a            sex. It feels great.                         young people referred to the pro-      more than half of ecstasy seized in
police say they can’t fight the meth                  "point" or about one-tenth          “It’s very addictive,” says 25-year       gram in 2005 reported using meth.      2004 contained meth, that means
tide without the help of volunteers to                                                 veteran cop Sgt. Walter Argent,                In Kamloops, youth drug coun-        10 per cent are actually using meth.
counsel those at risk.                                of a gram. An ecstasy hit,       who works in Vancouver’s down-               sellor Bob Hughes has watched the        “It’s higher than the five per cent
  As I worked on these stories, I heard               or tablet, can cost twice as     town core. “There’s no particular            number of meth-addicted young          reported,” McGhee says. “The
Anthony’s story repeated dozens of                    much. The RCMP also say          socio-economic background you                people coming to his facility near-    prevalence might be as high as one
times. I want my cousin to read these                                                  need to be from to be on this stuff.”        ly double in the past year alone.      in 10 kids in high school — and
stories because I don’t know how else                 that some drugs seized at           And, says Argent, in Vancouver              “[Meth] is ravaging Kamloops,”       that’s two years ago.”
to help him.                                          raves that were sold as          it’s easily available. Just like in Chill-   he says simply.                                mramsey@png.canwest.com
  Anthony doesn’t listen too much
anymore. The box is winning.                          ecstasy were, in fact, crystal           Where to go for help
  He insists he’s in control. That he’s               meth. They say some deal-
“self-medicating.” That he’s working                  ers give out “free samples”        Kaiser Foundation:                         scoot_dog81@hotmail.com                Watari Youth Day Treatment
on the shack. He has a joke to prove it.                                                 www.kaiserfoundation.ca                    Narcotics Anonymous:                   Program:
  Q: What’s the difference between a                  in hopes of hooking new
                                                                                         B.C. Partners for Mental Health:           www.bcrscna.bc.ca/meetings/list-       604-438-3755
crack addict and a meth head?                         customers.
  A: A crack addict will steal your wal-                                                 www.heretohelp.ca                          ings                                   Family Services
let. A meth head will steal your wallet
and help you look for it.                            •     As of 2003, 11 per cent
                                                      of all admissions to com-
                                                                                         Prevention Source B.C.:
                                                                                         www.preventionsource.bc.ca
                                                                                                                                    Covenant House:
                                                                                                                                    www.covenanthousebc.org
                                                                                                                                                                           of Greater Vancouver:
                                                                                                                                                                           604-872-4349
  Anthony throws back his head and                                                       Early Psychosis Intervention:              Crystal Recovery:                      Narconon Detox Centre:
laughs smoke toward the ceiling. His                  munity addictions services
                                                                                         www.psychosissucks.ca                      www.crystalrecovery.com                1-866-266-6616
smile is quick and wide.                              in B.C. were for meth mis-
  And then it’s time to go. There’s a                                                    Crystal Meth Anonymous:                    Canadian Centre on Substance           Methamphetamine Response
hug, a promise to visit again. Antho-                 use, up from four per cent         totallyflysista@hotmail.com                Abuse: www.ccsa.ca                     Committee: 604-736-2033
ny’s not going anywhere soon.                         in 1999.
     A10 ❘ NEWS ❘         THE PROVINCE                                                                                                                            TUESDAY, APRIL 19, 2005




                                T H E M E N A C E O F C R Y S TA L M E T H
                                Educating you and your community: Part 2



                                Drug ingredients are as
          1998        2004




                                close as your local store
S T U F F T H AT                                                                                These ingredients, necessary for
                                                                                                meth production, were easily
                                                                                                                                     Gaps in Canada’s
GOE S I NTO
MAKING METH
                                                                                                obtained in local stores.
                                                                                                GERRY KAHRMANN — THE PROVINCE
                                                                                                                                     regulations are easily
The list of core
                                                                                                                                     exploited, RCMP say
ingredients, as well as                                                                                                                                   STORIES BY
directions for how to                                                                                                                                  MATTHEW RAMSEY
                                                                                                                                                         STAFF REPORTER
make methamphetamine,
                                                                                                                                                hat you need to start making crystal

                                                                                                                                      W
were found, downloaded
and printed from the                                                                                                                            methamphetamine is as close as your
                                                                                                                                                nearest hardware store.
Internet in less than three                                                                                                             On a mid-March shopping trip, The Province
minutes.                                                                                                                              spent just $100.58, including taxes and environ-
                                                                                                                                      mental fees, to acquire the raw materials.
                                                                                                                                        Staff at the Wal-Mart in North Vancouver didn’t
Below is a partial list of                                                                                                            raise an eyebrow while ringing up containers of
ingredients readily                                                                                                                   acetone, Extra Strength Sudafed, methyl hydrate
                                                                                                                                      and Coleman camp fuel.
available at a variety of                                                                                                               Same story at Rona, where we stocked up on
stores:                                                                                                                               two other key ingredients, muriatic acid and lye.
                                                                                                                                        The purpose of the expedition was to demon-
•   Acetone                                                                                                                           strate how easy it is to buy these ingredients, a
•   Naphtha fuel                                                                                                                      fact of which police and anti-drug activists are

•   Methyl hydrate                                                                                                                    all too aware.
                                                                                                                                        Although steps have been taken in the U.S. to
•   Sudafed                                                                                                                           limit the availability of these materials, Canada
•   Muriatic acid                                                                                                                     appears to be taking a different approach —
                                                                                                                                      despite the fact that communities in B.C. riven
•   Lye                                                                                                                               by meth addiction want action taken.
•   These and other ingredi-
ents were purchased at
                                                                                        The Province is holding four community
                                                                                        forums on the subject of crystal-meth
                                                                                                                                        In March, Maple Ridge became the first com-
                                                                                                                                      munity in Canada to set up a program called
                                                                                                                                      Meth Watch. Its goal is to teach retailers to be on
Wal-Mart or Rona for a                                                                  abuse. Medical experts, victims, police,      the lookout for people buying the raw materials.
total of $100.58
                                 B.C. won’t take                                        families and addicts will talk about pre-
                                                                                        vention and treatment and answer ques-
                                                                                        tions from the audience. The first forum
                                                                                        is in Kamloops on April 26. There will be
                                                                                                                                        Volunteers distribute educational materials to
                                                                                                                                      employees and managers of 70 businesses in the
                                                                                                                                      Fraser Valley suburb. Posters have gone up in
POISONS IN
THE LABS
Some products routinely
                                 U.S. initiative                                        a forum in Victoria on May 2, in Surrey
                                                                                        on May 3 and in Vancouver on May 5.
                                                                                        For details, go to: www.canada.com/van-
                                                                                                                                      store windows; employees are advised what to
                                                                                                                                      watch for. Stickers are placed on shelves where
                                                                                                                                      the chemicals and related paraphernalia are dis-
                                                                                                                                      played. Any employee who suspects illegal activ-
                                   Washington state legislators are debating two        couver/theprovince/features/crystal-
found at clandestine labs:       proposed changes to a law that would significantly     meth/index.html
•   acetone                      tighten access to key meth ingredients.                                                                                            Continued on next page

•   paint and varnish remover
                                   One piece of legislation would require anyone
                                 selling anything containing ephedrine or pseu-
•   lacquer thinner              doephedrine to be licensed as a pharmacist.
                                                                                      H O W T O S P O T A C R Y S TA L - M E T H L A B O R AT O R Y
•   camp fuel                      That would prevent anyone from selling more
                                 than three packages of products known to contain
•   antifreeze                   those precursors, such as Sudafed, in one go.        Clues to possible crystal-         when they pass by their         ■ Garbage frequently contains

•   Drano                          Another bill would require anyone buying the       meth labs in your area:            residence                       numerous plastic medicine

•   brake cleaner
                                 products to show photo ID and sign a register. If
                                 such laws existed in B.C., shopping for meth
                                                                                      ■ Frequent late-night              ■ Paranoid or odd behaviour     bottles.

•   ephedrine                    ingredients would be almost impossible.
                                                                                      activity                           or expensive security           ■ Setting out garbage in

•   pseudoephedrine                But Solicitor-General Rich Coleman says B.C is
                                 not considering following Washington’s lead. And
                                 Meth Watch national spokesman Gerry Harrington
                                                                                      ■ Windows blacked out or
                                                                                      curtains always closed
                                                                                                                         ■ People always coming
                                                                                                                         outside to smoke cigarettes
                                                                                                                                                         neighbour’s collection area.
                                                                                                                                                         Anyone who suspects a lab
                                                                                      ■ Residents unfriendly, appear     ■ Chemical odours coming        should call their local police or
                                 says the U.S. measures would put the onus of
                                 policing on retail employees — and be an inconve-    secretive about their activities   from the house, garbage or      CrimeStoppers at
                                 nience to consumers.                                 ■ Watch cars suspiciously          detached buildings              1-800-222-TIPS.
TUESDAY, APRIL 19, 2005                                                                                                                                       THE PROVINCE ❘    NEWS ❘ A11


“Anywhere west of the
Mississippi, [meth] is an
issue.”
— Gerry Harrington, Meth Watch spokesman


From previous page

ity can call an RCMP hotline.                                                                                                                                       M A J O R H E A LT H
  That way, says Meth Watch national                                                                                                                                HAZAR DS OF
spokesman Gerry Harrington, police
can track hot spots and better monitor                                                                                                                              C R Y S TA L M E T H
the ebb and flow of the meth trade.
  “It sends a signal. It sends a signal to                                                                                                                            Methamphetamine causes
the addicts themselves. We know who                                                                                                                                 increased heart rate and blood
you are, we know what you’re doing                                                                                                                                  pressure and can cause irre-
and we don’t want you in the store,”
Harrington said.                                                                                                                                                    versible damage to blood ves-
  A similar program is in place in at                                                                                                                               sels in the brain, producing
least 17 states in the U.S..
  “Anywhere west of the                An explosion in an illegal                                                                                                   strokes. Other effects include
Mississippi, [meth] is an issue,”      meth lab in Surrey resulted                                                                                                  respiratory problems, irregular
Harrington says. Anecdotal evi-        in this devastation.
                                       RCMP PHOTO                                                                                                                   heartbeat and extreme anorex-
dence from the U.S. suggests
Meth Watch can cut back on the                                                                                                                                      ia. Its use can result in cardio-
street-level availability of the drug by                                                                                                                            vascular collapse and death.
as much as 25 per cent.



                                                   Meth-lab waste
  Meth Watch will soon be rolled out in                                                                                                                               Other effects include irri-
drug and retail stores across Canada,                                                                                                                               tability, insomnia, confusion,
with all employees taking a 20-minute                                                                                                                               tremors, convulsions, anxiety,
online training session.
  Canadian federal regulations, enact-                                                                                                                              paranoia and aggressiveness.
ed in 2003, require only that compa-


                                                   spreads its poison
                                                                                                                                                                    Hyperthermia and convulsions
nies that manufacture, import, export
or distribute precursor chemicals,                                                                                                                                  can result in death.
such as ephedrine and pseu-
doephedrine, be licensed.
  While he’s reluctant to criticize
Health Canada’s 2003 rules, Sgt. Mike                  n January, a crystal-meth lab     duced during the manufacture          of tar-like substances in the sew-   six drug labs in the past two
Harding of the RCMP’s clandestine-lab
team notes that there are easily
exploited gaps in the regulations.
                                                   I   in Surrey exploded, forcing the
                                                       evacuation of 20 nearby resi-
                                                    dents. In June last year, two
                                                                                         of crystal meth are soaring.
                                                                                           For every kilogram of meth, the
                                                                                         “cooks” leave behind six to eight
                                                                                                                               ers in Port Coquitlam led police
                                                                                                                               to a meth lab in late March
                                                                                                                               where they found 11 kgs of ecsta-
                                                                                                                                                                    years, have to be taught what to
                                                                                                                                                                    expect.
                                                                                                                                                                      Make a mistake and the “front
  Anyone with a good record (clean at               garbage disposal operators in        kilograms of waste chemicals,         sy.                                  of the house blows off,” Roberts
least for 10 years) can apply for, and              Delta became violently ill when      says Vancouver’s environmental          Sgt. Mike Harding, the RCMP        says. ”
most likely get, a licence to possess the           their truck crushed containers       protection branch manager             officer in charge of the Moun-         The financial impact of envi-
precursors. An import licence is virtu-             of discarded chemicals believed      Doug Roberts.                         ties’ clandestine lab team, says     ronmental cleanups is also sub-
ally guaranteed at that point, as long              to be from a meth lab.                 The poisonous sludge is often       these substances contaminate         stantial. The cost of of disposing
as you can prove there are two other                  In 2003, a 20-tonne compactor      stored haphazardly, posing a          groundwater, soil, damage the        of ingredients is between $5,000
people in your organization with clean              in Vancouver was lifted a half-      serious threat not only to peo-       sewer systems themselves and         and $7,000 per lab, Harding says,
records who are also responsible for                metre off the ground by an           ple making the drug, but to those     poison fish habitats.                not including labour or materi-
the product. Health Canada also needs               explosion believed to have been      living next door.                       They also pose a hazard to fire    als.
to be satisfied that security at the stor-          caused by compacting cans of           “The atmosphere in those            crews and other municipal              A City of Vancouver report put
age facility is adequate.                           discarded ether, an ingredient of    buildings can be poisonous, cor-      workers for whom special, cost-      the average cleanup cost at
  After those hoops are cleared, a                  crystal meth.                        rosive, explosive. Would you          ly training is required.             between $18,000 and $33,000.
licence holder can import and sell pre-               And in 2002, a Burnaby woman       want to be living next to               “The biggest danger for us is      And the number of labs discov-
cursors to other licence holders. They              had a lucky escape when              that?”Roberts says.                   just soaking up this stuff,” says    ered and dismantled is increas-
can also sell to non-licence holders as             methane gas exploded in a Kit-         The porridge of waste chemi-        Archie Roberts (no relation to       ing. Municipalities pay for clean-
long as those individuals promise they              silano sewer line. The force of      cals includes acetone, dustings       Doug), a training officer with the   ups and bill Ottawa. But Health
are the end users and fill out a pur-               the blast sent a manhole cover       of highly flammable red phos-         Vancouver fire department.           Canada refunds the money only
chase document.                                     through her car windshield.          phorous, lye, muriatic acid and       Anhydrous ammonia, if inhaled,       when there’s a police report and
  “That document,” Harding says,                    Drug-lab chemicals dumped            anhydrous ammonia.                    sucks moisture out of a victim’s     charges are laid.
“goes nowhere.”                                     into sewers were believed to be        The toxic brew is dumped            lungs, giving him “instant freez-      Plus, says Doug Roberts,
  The information is not passed on to               responsible.                         down drains, emptied into sew-        er burn,” he says.                   Ottawa does not pay the wages
officials at Health Canada, nor is it                 Costs linked to the cleanup and    ers or abandoned in ditches,            Vancouver fire crews, who have     for first responders or subse-
available to police — except by war-                disposal of chemical waste pro-      fields and back gardens. A blob       been summoned to the scene of        quent legal expenses.
rant. The implication is that anyone
could use fake ID and false informa-
tion on the form and walk away with               COM I NG U P:                                                                 ‘An avalanche coming this way’
bulk chemicals.
  The holes in the law are compound-              Wednesday Thursday Friday                                Sunday              In 1998, B.C. RCMP     the RCMP says that      mobile operations
ed by traditional smuggling operations             Meth addicts         Experts agree    Drug experts      We preview        officers investigated    most labs discovered    that are easy to set up
and companies that simply choose to                have special         prevention is    south of the      our special       eight meth labs. Three   today are considered    and easier to leave
ignore the rules.                                  treatment            the best cure    border, where     community         years later, officers    “super labs,” produc-   behind.
  “There are diversions. There’s little                                                                                      took apart 11 labs and   ing relatively large      “It’s just starting. It’s
                                                   needs, but even for meth              crystal meth is   forums on
doubt about that,” Harding says.                                                                                             three ecstasy produc-    amounts of drugs.       an avalanche coming
  As things stand, there’s a powerful              the government addiction,             rampant, say      crystal           ers. By 2004, the num-     In neighbour ing      this way,” says Archie
economic incentive — and precious                  admits               but disagree     the worst is      meth (see         ber of lab busts had     Washington state,       Roberts, a training offi-
little risk — for people wanting to cook           resources fall       on the right     yet to come in    opposite          shot up to 19.           super labs are giving   cer with the Vancou-
up crystal meth.                                                                         B.C.              page).              Sgt. Mike Harding of   way to small, highly-   ver fire department.
                                                   short in B.C.        approach.
              mramsey@png.canwest.com
       A8 ❘❘ NEWS ❘       THE PROVINCE                                                                                                                              WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2005




                                  T H E M E N A C E O F C R Y S TA L M E T H
                                  Educating you and your community: Part 3



                                  B.C. minister admits
          1998       2004




BARRI E RS T0
T R E AT M E N T
OF ADDICTS
                                  more beds are needed
  Detox facilities are doing
                                                                                                                                                 As patient list
the best they can to meet                                                                                                                        grows, so do
meth addicts’ needs, but
often the behaviour of meth
                                                                                                                                                 treatment needs
psychotics is simply too                                                                                                                                          STORIES BY
                                                                                                                                                               MATTHEW RAMSEY
extreme to deal with, says                                                                                                                                         STAFF REPORTER
Dr. Bill MacEwan.
                                                                                                                                                      ack of access to detox and rehab beds for
  MacEwan deals with meth
psychotics every day in his
role as head of the psychosis
                                                                                                                                                L     addicts is a key complaint of counsellors
                                                                                                                                                      (and addicts themselves) across B.C.
                                                                                                                                                  The province has just 900 residential facili-
                                                                                                                                                ty beds for drug and alcohol abusers who want
program at St. Paul’s Hospi-
                                                                                                                                                help. Only 75 of them are for youths.
tal.                                                                                                                                              Brenda Locke, Minister of State for Mental
  He says that typically, psy-                                                                                                                  Health and Addiction Services, says that’s not
                                                                                                                                                enough — when the need for young people is
chotics will hear voices,                                                                                                                       “acute.”
experience hallucinations                                                                                                                         Cpl. Scott Rintoul, of the RCMP drug aware-
                                                                                                                                                ness section, agrees: “Are we equipped to han-
and disjointed thought
                                                                                                                                                dle detox? No, we don’t have enough [beds].”
processes and be agitated,                                                                                                                        His solution? “Increase detox, increase treat-
depressed or invigorated                                                                                                                        ment and make both available on demand.”
                                                                                                                                                  Dr. Bill MacEwan, who runs the psychosis
(depending on when they                                                                                                                         program at St. Paul’s Hospital and routinely
used).                                                                                                                                          tours meth hot spots in the downtown core,
                                                                                                                                                says more resources for treatment and detox
  Three of the five beds in
                                                                                                                                                are needed — “period.”
the St. Paul’s pro-                                                                                                                               But MacEwan adds that it is especially
                   Long-term meth
gram usually are use rots the teeth,                                                                                                            important when treating meth addicts to
                                                                                                                                                understand that the drug can cause intense
taken up by meth as shown in this                                                                                                               mental problems. The ability to help addicts
                   scene from the
addicts, MacEwan video Death By Jib.                                                                                                            with both the addiction and the mental ill-
                                                                                                                                                ness is critical.
says, and about 40
                                                                                                                                                  Some facilities are reluctant to accept
per cent of patients in the                                                                                                                     patients with dual diagnosis, he says.
hospital’s psychiatric ward                                                                                                                       “We definitely need more planning and more
                                                                                                                                                beds around that,” says MacEwan. “It’s a real
are drug-induced psychotics.                                                                                                                    dearth.”
  MacEwan compares psy-                                                                                                                           Locke says the B.C. government is looking
                                                                                                                                                at developing a plan to increase the number
chosis to a ride at Disney-
                                                                                                                                                of long-term residential-care treatment homes
land — “in the dark, hurtling                                                                                                                   for youth.
                                                                                                                                                  That plan will also examine where in B.C.
along at fast speeds, not         COM I NG U P:                                          Meth addiction                                         the homes are needed most.
k nowing where yo u’re                                                                                                                            Squamish, for example, with a population
going.”                                                                              Methamphetamine is           or “flash,” that lasts only   of close to 15,000 in 2003, doesn’t have a sin-
  Addicts, he says, are often
                                  Thursday          Friday           Sunday          taken orally or              a few minutes and is          gle rehab bed for adults or youth — at a time
                                  Experts agree     Drug experts     What you can    intranasally (snorting       described as extremely        when demand is increasing every year.
frightening. “They’re unpre-      prevention is     south of the     expect if you   the powder), by intra-       pleasurable. Oral or            The Youth Empowerment Society in Victo-
dictable. Staff are very wary     the best cure     border, where    attend one of   venous injection and by      intranasal use produces       ria, with five beds, is the only youth facility on
                                                                                     smoking. Immediately         euphoria — a high, but        Vancouver Island. Young people there can wait
of them. They often are just      for meth addic-   crystal meth     our special                                                                for more than a month to get a slot.
                                                                                     after smoking or intra-      not a rush. Users may
all over the map emotional-       tion, but dis-    is rampant,      community                                                                    Young people between the ages of 14 and 29
                                                                                     venous injection, the        become addicted quick-
                                  agree on the      say the worst    forums on                                                                  are specifically identified as an at-risk group
ly . . . The kids will call it                                                       methamphetamine user         ly and use it with
                                  right approach.   is yet to come   meth (see                                                                  in the provincial government’s August 2004
‘sketchy.’ This person is capa-                                                      experiences an intense       increasing frequency          Crystal Meth and Other Amphetamines: An
                                                    in B.C.          panel, oppo-    sensation, called a “rush”   and in increasing doses.
ble of doing anything at any                                                                                                                    Integrated BC Strategy. The strategy makes no
                                                                     site page).
moment.”                                                                                                                                                                   Continued on next page
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2005                                                                                                                                                  THE PROVINCE ❘   NEWS ❘❘ A9



Video explores meth’s devastation
   n the shocking 18-minute video         nized by The Province in conjunc-               needing help with meth addiction.       couver, Surrey and Abbotsford. The         it would help her lose weight.

I  Death By Jib, kids swear, twitch
   and writhe in classic junkie style.
They shoot crystal meth into weep-
                                          tion with this current series.)
                                            The video takes viewers on to the
                                          street to witness the horror where
                                                                                            His inspiration was a 1999 film,
                                                                                          Wrath of the Dragon, a production
                                                                                          of Coquitlam film maker Michael
                                                                                                                                  work paid off. Letourneau and
                                                                                                                                  Neitzel found teens, young adults,
                                                                                                                                  even the mother of a man who
                                                                                                                                                                               “All the guys would love me, I’d be
                                                                                                                                                                             skinny and popular,” she says. “I
                                                                                                                                                                             looked basically like a rack.”
ing sores on their arms.                  it actually happens.                            Neitzel that dealt with heroin abuse.   committed suicide while coming                The Fraser Health Authority now
  The film details loss, sexual             “It’s way better to have an in-your-          It was a no-holds barred journey        off meth, to talk graphically about        has 60 copies to distribute to
exploitation, mental devastation          face video,” says Letourneau, Peace             into the heroin-junkie underworld       their experiences.                         mental health centres and coun-
and lonely death in a squalid hotel       Arch Community Services coun-                   — with addicts as the guides.             The interviews are stark and             selling centres.
room.                                     selling program manager. Teens are                Letourneau called Neitzel and “we     uncompromising.                              For information on how to screen
  This is no after-school special.        less likely to dismiss a message from           immediately connected over the            “I haven’t seen my family in five        Death By Jib, contact Maureen
  But, says co-producer Kevin             an authority figure if it’s delivered           phone,” he says.                        years,” says one teen.                     Hamblin, director of community
Letourneau, that’s the whole point        in a way they can relate to by peo-               With $25,000 from the Fraser            “[Addiction] is like a little box        relations for Peace Arch Commu-
of this presentation on life as a         ple of their own age, he says.                  Health Authority, Death By Jib was      you’re trapped in . . . worms that eat     nity Services, at 604-531-6226.
crystal-meth addict.                        The idea for the video came in the            quickly put into production.            your brain,” says another.                   To buy a copy, call 1-800-263-6910,
  (Death By Jib will be shown at all      fall of 2004 as Letourneau became                 Letourneau and Neitzel inter-           A Grade 9 girl tells how she start-      or go to kineticvideo.com.
four community forums being orga-         aware of a steady increase in youth             viewed users from Whalley, Van-         ed using meth because she was told                  mramsey@png.canwest.com


From previous page

specific reference to increased funding
for rehabilitation services, despite the
fact that the system is under tremendous
strain.
  In 1999, 933 British Columbian men
and women sought community addic-
tion services for amphetamine misuse
(four per cent of the total number of
admissions to addictions services). By
2003, that number had jumped to 1,687,
or 11 per cent of the total.
  Admissions by region show a stagger-
ing growth in amphetamine abuse.
  In the Fraser Health Authority area, for
example, 498 people were admitted in
1999, 766 in 2003.
  Although she could not provide
specifics, Locke says that beds in the
Fraser Health Authority area will be
increased “very shortly.”
  She points to wait times for adult detox
centres as a key indicator of the govern-
ment’s progress in addressing the prob-
lem. It used to be that an addict seeking
help from the Vancouver Coastal Health
Authority would have to wait six weeks;                                                                                                                                                     Dr. Tania Lecomte
now they wait only two days, she says.                                                                                                                                                      is launching a
  “For us, the biggest issue is prevention,”                                                                                                                                                study to find how
Locke says. “We can always do more,                                                                                                                                                         best to treat meth
there’s no                                                                                                                                                                                  addicts.
doubt about           The Province is holding      forum is in Kamloops on                                                                                                                            JASON PAYNE
it.”                  four community forums        April 26. There will be a                                                                                                                       — THE PROVINCE
  Locke has           on the subject of crystal-   forum in Victoria on May
had up-close
experience of
the needs of
addicts. She
                      meth abuse. Medical
                      experts, victims, police,
                      families and addicts will
                                                   2, in Surrey on May 3 and
                                                   in Vancouver on May 5.
                                                   For details, go to:
                                                                                            ‘We don’t know how to treat these
was visiting a
northern
Vancouver
                      talk about prevention
                      and treatment and
                      answer questions from
                                                   www.canada.com/
                                                   vancouver/theprovince/
                                                   features/crystalmeth/
                                                                                            people,’ says author of new study
Island care           the audience. The first      index.html                                A Vancouver researcher hopes          system has a proven treatment             history of meth addiction, studies
facility in                                                                                 her three-year study will help to      method.                                   have shown that 36 to 64 per cent
February when a 21-year old woman in                FOUR KEY                               determine a better way of treating        “We don’t have solutions. We            of users experience psychosis and
a detox program talked with her about                                                      crystal-meth addicts.                   don’t know how to treat these peo-        psychotic symptoms.
her life for a full hour.                           OBJECTIVES                               Assistant psychiatry professor        ple,” she says. “There’s no inte-           Other studies have suggested that
  The woman described how her addic-                Key objectives of the provin-          Dr. Tania Lecomte says her look at      grated treatment people get unless        long-term use can damage the
tion to crystal meth had made her life              cial government’s strategy             300 addicts will track those who        they find it for themselves. The          brain’s ability to produce the neu-
as a single mom bearable, even as it                to counter meth addiction:             have undergone one or more psy-         problem is too new. People either         rotransmitters dopamine and sero-
made everything worse.                                                                     chotic episodes.                        don’t know how to face it, or it          tonin — essentially robbing the
  “She told me how ill she was, how she             prevent people from start-               Lecomte says the symptoms that        hasn’t triggered the [alarm] bell.”       user of the ability to feel pleasure.
wanted to stop doing it. It was very tough          ing to use meth; reduce cur-           addicts experience include extreme        A February 2004 survey of 40              Lecomte’s study has $138,000 in
on her,” Locke says.                                rent use; reduce harm and              paranoia, visual and auditory hal-      street youth who used metham-             startup funding. She’s hoping for
  To have the courage to try to quit the            overdose deaths; reduce sup-           lucinations and severe cognitive        phetamines found that 84 per cent         another $138,000 for Year 2 and
only thing that brings you pleasure is a            ply. Copies are available online at    impairment.                             suffered from psychosis and that          $97,000 for Year 3. She’s also hop-
remarkable thing, Locke says.                                                                She says addicts are often stuck      their symptoms increased as they          ing that the provincial government
                                                    www.healthservices.gov.bc.ca/mhd
  “If you can do this, you can do any-                                                     between mental-health facilities        used the drug.                            will step in with financial assis-
thing.”                                             /pdf/meth_final.pdf                    and detox centres and neither             In Japan, a country with a long         tance.
    A10 ❘❘ NEWS ❘         THE PROVINCE                                                                                                                                 THURSDAY, APRIL 21, 2005




                                        T H E M E N A C E O F C R Y S TA L M E T H
                                        Educating you and your community: Part 4




                                        Are our schools
              1998         2004




HIGH SCHOOLS
N E E D TO DO
MORE: RC M P
                                        doing enough?                                                                                                            Critics ask
 Const. Richard DeJong, the
RCMP’s drug-awareness coordi-
                                                                                                                                                                 whether
nator, describes DARE as a                                                                                                                                       programs
“building block of prevention.”
 As students get older and face
                                                                                                                                                                 aimed at the
different social challenges, they                                                                                                                                young have
need different information to
address those challenges.
                                                                                                                                                                 lasting effect
 “There’s certainly the need” for                                                                                                                                         STORIES BY
a more co-ordinated high-school                                                                                                                                        MATTHEW RAMSEY
                                                                                                                                                                           STAFF REPORTER
prevention program in this
province, says DeJong. As it                                                                                                                                     t’s DARE graduation night at
stands, response is primarily
“patchwork” with little or no
                                                                                                                                                                 I
                                                                                                                                                                 Woodward Elementary in
                                                                                                                                                                 Richmond and there are
                                                                                                                                                             more parents than seats in the
dovetailing among programs                                                                                                                                   gym.
and district-specific efforts.                                                                                                                                 About 150 people are sitting
                                                                                                                                                             in fold-out plastic chairs. Late-
 “Schools are just being reac-                                                                                                                               comers are relegated to long,
tive,” he says. “You can’t just                                                                                                                              low wooden benches, back-
                                                                                                                                                             breakingly unique to elemen-
leave it up to the police to get                                                                                                                             tary schools.
the message out                                                                                                                                                Two Mounties in full reds are
                         Students at Woodward
there. You need to                                                                                                                                           there, the mayor is there,
                         Elementary in Richmond
                                                                                                                                                             school officials are present. The
look at it from all      graduate from DARE.
                         NICK PROCAYLO — THE PROVINCE
                                                                                                                                                             gym is decorated with posters
different angles.”                                                                                                                                           — “Dare to be drug free,” “Dare
                                                                                                                                                             to stay alive.” Everyone is wait-
 Vancouver police Insp. John De                                                                                                                              ing for Robyn Anderson’s Grade
Haas says one organization is                                                                                                                                5 and 6 students to file in and
doing just that. The Search Insti-                                                                                                                           be honoured for their achieve-
                                                                                                                                                             ments.
tute in Minneapolis conducted a                                                                                                                                It’s a big night for the kids, the
study of 200,000 Grade 6 to 12                                                                                                                               end of the 10-week program.
                                                                                                                                                             It’s a big night for the police
students, looking at the experi-                                                                                                                             because this is the first group
ences young people need to                                                                                                                                   to come through DARE (Drug
grow into healthy, well-rounded                                                                                                                              Abuse Resistance Education)
                                                                                                                                                             in Richmond. Next school year,
and caring adults. These include                                                                                                                             all Grade 5 classes in the city
parental involvement and rela-
tionships with others.
                                             This is my prayer:
                                             I pray to God I can break away,               COM I NG UP:                          will do it. Const. Annette Martin of Richmond RCMP says
                                                                                                                                 the goal is to educate the kids before they get to high
                                             From this life that has left me blind,                                              school. They talk about making smart choices and about
 When the institute asked how                I wish I had my kids to hold,                 Friday               Sunday           peer pressure. They talk about alcohol, marijuana and
many of the kids used illicit                To put them down at bedtime.                  Drug experts        What you can      cigarettes. They do not talk about crystal meth.
                                             I wish I could make dinner again,                                                     “It’s more about choices in life,” says Martin.
drugs three or more times in the                                                           south of the bor- expect if you         The students arrive and act out anti-smoking and drink-
                                             For the man that was in my world,
past 12 months, those with the               I wish the dog I once owned,                  der, where crystal attend one of our ing skits on stage. The short plays feature themes such
                                             Was in my lap all curled.                     meth is rampant, special communi- as “Drugs are bad, so just don’t start.”
fewest number of such experi-                                                                                                      Five students make speeches. One suggests that the
                                             I wish I had finished college,                say the worst is    ty forums on meth
ences were far more likely to                I wish for all my dreams to have come true,                                         DARE program should be available to “adults stupid
                                                                                           yet to come in B.C. (see panel).
answer that they had.                        I wish that life wasn’t such a mess.
                                                                            — Anonymous                                                                                    Continued on next page
THURSDAY, APRIL 21, 2005                                                                                                                                           THE PROVINCE ❘   NEWS ❘❘ A11




From previous page

enough to abuse drugs.”
  The line gets a giggle from the crowd,
but the truth is that tonight’s graduation
marks the last formal, in-depth drug-
abuse prevention training of this dura-
tion and intensity these kids will get —                                                                                                                 “We’ve got to get
whether it works or not.
  There is no uniform program in all B.C.
                                                                                                                                                         the judges in the
high schools as concentrated and                                                                                                                         system to realize
focused as DARE, despite the fact that
anti-drug groups have pushed for such                                                                                                                    it’s not a crime, it’s
a program for at least five years.
  A 2001 survey of students in Grades 8
                                                                                                                                                         an addiction. The
and 9 by the Alcohol-Drug Education                                                                                                                      addiction has to be
Service found only ad-hoc, short-term
and uneven drug education efforts in
                                                                                                                                                         treated.”
B.C. high schools.
  Some instruction was incorporated in
the Planning 10 curriculum in 2004, but                                                                                                                          — Gordy
                                                                                                                       An addict injects meth in a
very little.                                                                                                                                                      Robson,
                                                                                                                       scene from the B.C.-made
  Instead, the focus on drug prevention                                                                                                                   anti-meth activist
                                                                                                                       video Death By Jib.
is shifting to lower and lower grades.
Vancouver and Sur-
rey ran a pilot pro-     The Province is hold-        forum is in Kamloops
gram this school
year that addresses
drug issues with
Grade 4 kids.
                         ing four community
                         forums on the subject
                         of crystal-meth abuse.
                         Medical experts,
                                                      on April 26. There will
                                                      be a forum in Victoria
                                                      on May 2, in Surrey on
                                                      May 3 and in Vancou-
                                                                                  ‘Make punishment fit crime’
  Insp. John de
Haas, head of the
                         victims, police, families ver on May 5. For              MP: ‘It’s a national                     crimes. “It certainly would send a
                                                                                                                           signal to the producers that it’s not
                                                                                                                                                                     ers from coming into the market-
                                                                                                                                                                     place.”
                         and addicts will talk        details, go to:
Vancouver police         about prevention and         www.canada.com/
                                                                                  issue [that] needs a                     just going to be a slap on the              The MLA says his constituents
units assigned to
gang crime, youth
                         treatment and answer         vancouver/                  federal response’                        wrist,” he says.
                                                                                                                             The Conservatives are setting up
                                                                                                                                                                     are frustrated by “lax” sentences
                                                                                                                                                                     handed to meth producers and
                         questions from the           theprovince/features/
ser vices       and                                                                       row more than 30 grams of        a crystal-meth task force they hope       dealers.
schools, questions
                         audience. The first
the impact of those programs.
                                                      crystalmeth/index.html

  Asking a child’s mind to make adult W E A S K E D Y O U :
                                                                                  G       marijuana and you could go
                                                                                          to jail for 25 years. Set up a
                                                                                  meth lab and the longest you could
                                                                                                                           will eventually become an apolit-
                                                                                                                           ical body with the goal of mitigat-
                                                                                                                           ing meth’s huge impact.
                                                                                                                                                                       “There is no deterrent and that’s
                                                                                                                                                                     what frustrates,” Bray says.
                                                                                                                                                                       “The federal government has to
decisions is not effective, he says.            What’s missing from               spend behind bars is 6.6 years             MPs from Saskatchewan, Mani-            decide whether or not people who
  School-based drug-abuse prevention                                              before automatic parole.                 toba and Alberta, all alarmed by          sell crystal meth to 15-year-olds
programs are not keeping kids away school-based drug                                That’s the law as it stands in         the spread and prevalence of meth         [are] a really bad thing.”
from cr ystal methamphetamine. prevention programs?                               Canada, and it’s got politicians agi-    in their provinces, are echoing             What’s missing in the political
“We’re missing something,” he says.                            Probably not       tating for change.                       Kamp’s demands.                           debate is an acknowledgement
  What’s missing, de Haas argues, is evi-                                           Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP              Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Randy           that many people who commit
dence that well-intentioned programs                           enough             Randy Kamp wants meth posses-            Hawes has introduced legislation          crimes while under the influence
such as DARE cause behavioural change                          information.       sion, trafficking and production         that would oblige the province to         of meth are addicts first, criminals
— that the DARE message to elemen-                             There was          treated as seriously as cocaine and      push for appropriate sentencing,          second, says Gordy Robson.
tary school students about making safe                         no program         heroin. He also wants Ottawa to          as well as improve treatment                Robson is a key organizer of an
and sound decisions with alcohol and at my high school. We had                    specifically focus on meth as it         options.                                  anti-meth movement in Maple
tobacco actually translates into drug                                             contemplates a national drug strat-        Some MLAs are more strident.            Ridge.
avoidance in high school.                       speakers come in maybe            egy.                                       Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Jeff             He says 90 per cent of that com-
  In fact, 2003 research by the National once, but nothing about                    “It’s becoming a national issue        Bray recently referred to meth            munity’s homeless are meth
Institute on Drug Abuse found DARE drugs. We learned by                           and it needs a federal response,”        dealers as “the vilest scum of the        addicts, that 80 per cent of car
had negligible, if any, effect on the drug experimenting.                         Kamp says.                               earth.”                                   thefts are meth-related and that 30
and smoking habits of 6,000 Grade 7                        Miranda Baerg, 25        He and other Conservative MPs            “The law is not a concern of            per cent of property crime is root-
and 8 students surveyed.                                            Coquitlam     are pushing Justice Minister Irwin       theirs,” he says.                         ed in the addiction.
  An eight-year follow-up study on                             I think bring-     Cotler to introduce minimum sen-           “If the cost of getting caught is         Robson says judges should rec-
Grade 6 students from Kentucky who                                                tences for meth-related drug             prohibitive, you may prevent oth-         ognize that users, who often deal
had completed DARE, and another                                ing in public                                                                                         the drug, are the victims.
group which hadn’t, found no difference                        speakers,                                                                                               Longer sentences won’t work
between the two groups when it came                            people with
                                                                                        What the law dictates                                                        unless there is some effort made
to attitudes and behaviours about drugs.                       experience.                                                                                           to address the addiction while in
  So de Haas and the Vancouver Coastal Learning from somebody                         Under the Controlled Drugs and       can net sentences of six months           custody, Robson says.
Health Authority are trying to find a                                               Substances Act, drugs fall into        to seven years, six months to five          “We’ve got to get the judges in the
better model.                                   that’s been through it is           numerous categories, or sched-         years for schedule 2 and six              system to realize it’s not a crime,
  A multi-agency research project led by the best thing.                            ules, that are ranked in the legal     months to three years for sched-          it’s an addiction,” Robson says.
the authority is now examining the                     Michelle Thomson, 25         system according to their per-         ule 3.                                    “The addiction has to be treated.”
whole question of drug-abuse preven-                                Coquitlam       ceived severity.                         On the trafficking front, sched-          As far as Robson is concerned,
tion with an eye to developing more                            All in all, kids       Cocaine and heroin are sched-        ule 1 and 2’s maximum punish-             rehabilitation should be manda-
effective tools for teachers and parents.                                           ule 1. Marijuana and hash (more        ment is life (25 years with no            tory for conditional sentences,
                                                               just don’t           than 30 grams and more than 1          parole).
  “We need,”de Haas stresses, “to design                       think drugs                                                                                           parole, probation and remand.
our programs on evidence.”                                                          gram respectively) are schedule          For schedule 3, it’s 10 years.            Merely elevating the criminality
  For de Haas, the key to fighting drug                        are really           2. Amphetamines are schedule 3,          Inmates are eligible for parole         of meth, as demanded by some
abuse is not just to target kids, but to                       that bad.            alongside LSD (acid) and magic         after they’ve served a third of           politicians, won’t make much of a
focus on the entire community when                            Cyrus Kenny, 22       mushrooms.                             their sentence and are automati-          difference by itself, Robson says.
modeling prevention efforts.                                        Vancouver         Possession of a schedule-1 drug      cally released after two-thirds.                    mramsey@png.canwest.com
    A14 ❘ NEWS ❘           THE PROVINCE                                                                                                                               FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2005




                                   T H E M E N A C E O F C R Y S TA L M E T H
                                   Educating you and your community: Part 5




                                   It’s your fight,
        1998        2004




                                   communities told                                                                                                WASHINGTON
                                                                                                                                                   STATE: We can’t
                                                                                                                                                   battle meth
WINNING THE
                                                                                                                                                   without help
M E T H B AT T L E                                                                                                                                 from public,
I N TH E U.S.                                                                                                                                      police say
Meth by the numbers in
                                                                                                                                                                 STORIES BY
Snohomish Co., Wash.
                                                                                                                                                              MATTHEW RAMSEY
Calls to illegal labs:                                                                                                                                            STAFF REPORTER

2004 – 51
                                                                                                                                                                            EVERETT, Wash.
2003 – 95                                                                                                                                                essica Van Horn was a spirited 12-
2002 – 91
2001 – 84
                                                                                                                                                   J     year-old in Grade 7 when she first
                                                                                                                                                         noticed her peers turning on to
                                                                                                                                                   methamphetamine. The highly addic-
Lab-cleanup costs                                                                                                                                  tive drug was, in fact, tearing through
(in $US):                                                                                                                                          her hometown of Everett and the sur-
                                                                                                                                                   rounding Snohomish County, just
Vehicle                  Kris Swanson, 17, started                                                                                                 north of Seattle, in Washington state.
$2,000-$6,000            using meth when she was                                                                                                     Jessica’s first idea was straightforward
                         14. She became a thief,                                                                                                   enough — she would organize a sum-
Storage Unit
                         then dropped out of                                                                                                       mit for young people, by young peo-
$1,500-$2,700            school. Now, she’s kicked                                                                                                 ple, to educate them about the dan-
Hotel/Motel              the habit and is hoping at                                                                                                gers of the drug.
                         last to graduate.                                                                                                           Today, 17-year-old Jessica is in her
$2,000-$3,000            GERRY KAHRMANN — THE PROVINCE                                                                                             third year as president of the Sno-
Apartment                                                                                                                                          homish County Youth Meth Action
                                                                                                                                                   Team and the summit has become an
$2,500-$9,000
                                           The ‘tweaking’ effect                                                                                   annual event. Attendance has grown
House                                                                                                                                              from 800 to 1,300 this year.
$8,000-$25,000                                                                                                                                       “It’s a huge problem,” she says. “It’s
                                       The most dangerous stage of the crystal-
                                                                                                                                                   overwhelming. A lot of my friends
                                                                               .
                                       meth “binge cycle” is known as “tweaking”                                                                   have gone down the wrong path. I was
Deaths involving meth in               Typically, during this stage, the abuser has                                                                trying to help them.”
                                                                                                                                                     Commitments such as Van Horn’s are
Snohomish County are up                not slept in three to 15 days and is irritable                                                              the key to stemming the meth tide,
11 per cent in the last 12             and paranoid.                                                                                               Snohomish authorities say.
months compared to the                                                                                                                               “You’ve got to reach out to the com-
                                       The “tweaker” has an intense craving for
                                                                                                                                                   munity,” says County Sheriff Rick Bart.
12 months previous.                    more methamphetamine; however, no                                                                           “If you don’t have communities orga-
                                       dosage will help recreate the euphoric high.                                                                nized, the police will be hitting their
                                                                                                                                                   heads against the wall. The reason I’m
Charges for driving                    This causes frustration and leads to unpre-                                                                 optimistic is because of these kids.”
under the influence of                 dictability and a potential for violence.                                                                     In 2001, Washington state police shut
meth are up 22 per cent in                                                                                                                         down 1,800 illegal meth-making labs.
                                                                                                                                                   Last year, the number fell to about
the past 12 months.
                                     C O M I N G S U N D AY                                                                                        1,400.
                                                                                                                                                     In Snohomish, the 51 lab calls in
Meth has been detected               I N TH E PROVI NC E                                                                                           2004 marked a four-year-low —
                                                                                        Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart wears a red wristband   though that figure is still high com-
in 28 children under the             WE BRING you the lowdown on our four com-                                                                     pared to the 19 labs that Mounties in
                                                                                        bearing a " Do Not Meth around" anti-drug symbol.
age of 15 in the past 12             munity forums and introduce you to some of         GERRY KAHRMANN — THE PROVINCE
                                     the participants. (See panel opposite).                                                                                           Continued on next page
months.
FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2005                                                        METH MENACE: THE U.S. SCENE                                                            THE PROVINCE ❘    NEWS ❘ A15

From previous page

B.C. took down last year.
  The meth crisis is Bart’s major
headache. Even his nephew
became addicted and had to be
sent to California for treatment.
  Bart says the cost of meth-
related investigations is at least
half his $40 million U.S. budget.
  B.C., he says with a grimace, will
soon learn just how pervasive the
drug can be.
  “We can probably tie 60 to 80
per cent of our crime back to
meth,” he says. “You [in B.C.] can
expect crime to go up. You can
expect [meth] to affect almost
everybody in your community.”
  Bart says one of the best ways to
slow the rate of new addictions is
to target young people before
they pick up the habit.
  Van Horn’s organization talks to
kids as young as 11. Adults are
involved too, assisting the kids to
carry out their initiatives.
  Van Horn measures success not                                                                                                                                                  Sgt. John Flood of the
just by attendance, but by the                                                                                                                                                   Snohomish Regional Drug
number of young people who tell                                                                                                                                                  Task Force checks an
her the team and the summits                                                                                                                                                     abandoned home that had
have made a dif-                                                                                                                                                                 contained two meth labs on
ference in their         The Province is hold-         forum is in Kamloops                                                                                                      separate occasions.
lives.                   ing four community            on April 26. There will                                                                                                    GERRY KAHRMANN — THE PROVINCE
  “Even if we            forums on the subject         be a forum in Victoria
reach a couple,          of crystal-meth abuse.        on May 2, in Surrey on


                                                                                    U.S. meth-lab horrors
that’s enough,”          Medical experts,              May 3 and in Vancouver
she says.
                         victims, police, families     on May 5. For details,
  One of the suc-
                         and addicts will talk         go to:
cess stories is
Kris Swanson.            about prevention and          www.canada.com/
The 17-year-old          treatment and answer          vancouver/
Everett woman            questions from the            theprovince/features/           EVERETT, Wash, — Sgt. John Flood parks his 4X4                   In B.C., individual police organizations take out labs
with a shy smile         audience. The first           crystalmeth/index.html          outside a boarded-up home in a quiet neighbour- in their own areas. The Snohomish task force, formed
was a meth                                                                             hood about 100 metres from a church.                           in response to an alarming proliferation of labs in the
abuser for five years until she got              THE ORIGINS                             On the garage door of the tan rancher someone has late ’90s and early ’00s, is an all-in-one force.
clean.                                                                                 written in black marker, “No meth here.”                         The team does it all — raids and cleanup. State
  Sitting with Bart in the lunch-                OF METH                                 In Everett, state restrictions on the sale of ingredi- authorities pick up the garbage for safe disposal.
room at the sheriff’s office, she                   First synthesized in 1887,         ents used to make meth have slowed the spread of                 Flood’s truck roars down the driveway at another
talks about how she ate and                                                            so-called “super labs.”                                        boarded-up meth lab just 30 seconds away. This one
smoked the drug, how she left                     methamphetamine is made                In their place, a veritable forest of mini-labs, or so- is within spitting distance of a firehall, in what was
home at 15, dropped out of                        from the drug ephedrine, an          called “Beavis and Butthead” operations, has sprung once a family home. Neighbours peer into the yard,
school, stole cars and robbed                                                          up.                                                            checking Flood out. A deputy found this operation
stores and houses to support her                  organic substance used as a            The tan rancher was a “Butthead” operation. A man when he came to evict a tenant.
addiction.                                        medicine in China for hun-           moved in after his grandmother died, started a lab in            At the derelict house overlooking the train tracks by
  With the help of Van Horn’s                     dreds of years. It was once          the basement, was turned in by relatives and came the Snohomish River, it’s plain to see why the neigh-
team, she eventually kicked her                                                        back to torch the house to erase the evidence.                 bours are so vigilant.
addiction. Now she’s back in high                 sold as a nasal spray and a            The house is now condemned, the man is in jail and             Flood steps into the front room, his flashlight beam
school, hoping to graduate this                   treatment for narcolepsy             his family is stuck with the cleanup bill.                     slicing into dank, filth-strewn corners.
year.                                                                                    Flood and his colleagues on the Snohomish coun-                Two televisions, a sealed jug of some unidentified
  Susan York is executive director                (sudden sleep disorder). Dur-        ty task force kicked in the doors of 95 meth labs like yellow liquid, garbage and dishes heaped in the sink.
and co-founder of Lead On                         ing the Second World War,            this in 2003, 51 in the county in 2004.                        The place is due for demolition. Flood climbs back
America, a group founded in                       both sides used it to improve          (Meth-lab raids peaked in Washington in 2001, with into the truck, giving the place one last look in his
2001 in an effort to get meth labs                                                     1,800. Last year, police took down about 1,350. In B.C. rear view mirror.
shut down.                                        their soldiers’ performance.         by contrast, the RCMP in 2004 raided 19 labs.)                   “There is no saving it,” he sighs.
  York and her colleagues hold
neighbourhood meetings teach-
ing people how to spot a meth
                                                          Drug-resistant strain of HIV may be linked to meth use
lab and how to get it shut.
  York says it took LOA three                         It’s a case that has New York’s gay show up here,” says Glyn Townson. is some speculation that meth use ous. The Canadian AIDS Society
years to eliminate its first lab.                   community reeling, but it’s only a         A New York man in his 40s was contributed to the rapid onset notes there is an increased chance
But the most recent lab was iden-                   matter of time before someone in recently diagnosed the first known because the man routinely failed of HIV infection through unpro-
tified, raided and boarded up in                    Vancouver tests positive for drug- gay man with a drug-resistant to keep up with his HIV medication tected sex while under the influ-
just 83 days. She encourages                        resistant HIV.                           strain of HIV.                       regimen.                                ence of meth.
Canadian community groups to                          All the ingredients are in place to      He had unprotected sex with          Cases like his, also linked to meth     “It’s basically like turning your
follow the Lead On example.                         complete the “recipe” here, says multiple partners, often while high abuse, have now turned up in Con- internal thermostat up. Inhibitions
  “It’s an epidemic. It’s a plague                  the vice-chair of the B.C. Persons on crystal meth.                           necticut and California.                are gone,” Townson says.
[here],” she says. “You’ve got to                   With AIDS Society — most impor-            His unique strain of HIV appears     Townson, who does not use the           Concern over condom use “goes
network with us immediately,                        tantly, a large population of gay to have developed into full-blown drug, says meth abuse in Vancou- out the window” and patients pre-
because it’s going [north] across                   men using crystal methampheta- AIDS within two or three months ver’s gay community is rampant, scribed HIV or AIDS medications
the border.”                                        mine.                                    of his diagnosis.                    and the drug’s liberating aphro- forget to take them as they binge
        mramsey@png.canwest.com                       “I would be surprised if it didn’t       It normally takes 10 years. There disiac effects are clearly danger- on meth, he says.
SUNDAY, APRIL 24, 2005                                                                                                                                                                       THE PROVINCE ❘   NEWS ❘ A17




                                                                   Users risking brain damage
The forum in                                                                                                                             EFFECTS:         Paranoia, hallucinations, psychosis
Vancouver                                                                                                                                  Imagine wires popping, snapping and         them avoid coming back to the hospital.
Date: May 5, 2005                                                                                                                        melting away on an overloaded circuit           An average of one in five meth users will
Time: 7 - 9 p.m.                                                                                                                         board.                                        end up experiencing drug-induced psy-
Venue: John Oliver                                                                                                                         That’s the best way to picture what’s       chosis, he says, and many are “frequent
Secondary School theatre,                                                                                                                going on in the brain of a methamphet-        flyers” in the specialized psych ward.
530 East 41st Avenue (at                                                                                                                 amine user, says Dr. Bill MacEwan.              From initial ingestion to withdrawal,
Fraser Street).                                                                                                                            The psychiatrist who heads up the           meth tears through the brain.
                                                                                                                                         University of B.C.’s schizophrenia pro-         The first rush of the drug is character-
                                               Mountain                                                                                  gram and the psychosis program at St.         ized by a massive release of dopamine,
                                                 View                                                                                    Paul’s is an expert when it comes to the      the molecule in the brain that generates
                                               Cemetery
                                                                                                                                         impact of meth on the brain.                  feelings of pleasure.
                                                                                                                                           MacEwan is to be a panelist at Province       “It’s like the biggest orgasm, the biggest
                             E. 41st Ave.                                                                                                meth forums in Surrey on May 3 and            chocolate fix, you name it,” MacEwan
                                                                                                                                         Vancouver on May 5.                           says. Sexual drive is increased, heart and
       Prince Edward St.




                                                                                                                                           From his vantage point at St. Paul’s and    blood pressure rates soar.
                                                                                                                                         the hallways of squalid single-room-            The flipside is that after extended use,
                             E. 43rd Ave.
                                                                                                                                         occupancy hotels in the Downtown East-        the brain actually begins to require the
                             E. 44rd Ave.                                                                                                side, MacEwan sees the impact of meth         drug in order to release the dopamine.
                                                                                                                                         up close. He tours the hotels each week       No drug, no pleasure. Then there’s the
                                                                                                                                         because many of his clients live there. He    intense craving for more, brain cell death,
                                                                                                                                         checks up on them, encourages them to         paranoia, hallucinations and psychosis.
                                                                                                                                         take their medications and tries to help        As MacEwan will explain, psychosis is
                                                                                                                                                                                       essentially a loss of touch with reality.
                                                                                                                                                                                       Thoughts become twisted and illogical,
                                                                                                                                         “The overall message                          behaviours follow suit.
                                                                                                                                         for people who are                              With meth, those effects can last for six
                                                                                                                                                                                       months and the cognitive impairment as
                                                                                                                                         thinking of using                             a result of fried brain circuitry can last a
                                                                                                                                         [meth] is to think                            lifetime, MacEwan says. Meth has even
                                                                                                                                                                                       been known to induce schizophrenia.
                                                                                                                                         twice. Parents, be                              It’s more addictive than cocaine and
                                                                                                                                                                                       more psychologically damaging than
                                                                                                                                         knowledgeable. Talk                           heroin.
                                                                                                                                         to your kids. Don’t                             The message with meth is simple,
                                                                                                                                                                                       MacEwan says: “The overall message for
                                                                                                                                         assume.”                                      people who are thinking of using is to
                                                                                                                                                                                       think twice.
                                                                                                                                                                                         “Parents, be knowledgeable about
                                                                                                                                               — Dr. Bill MacEwan,                     things. Talk to your kids. Don’t assume.
                                                                   Dr. Bill MacEwan says crystal meth has been known to                                  psychiatrist                  This drug crosses over all socio-economic
                                                                   induce schizophrenia. NICK PROCAYLO — THE PROVINCE                                                                  backgrounds.”



The forum in
Surrey
Date: May 3, 2005
                                                                   Crystal called the ‘drug of choice’ in Surrey
Time: 7 - 9 p.m.                                                   FIGHTING BACK:                           president of the Meadowridge             Ridge. The Life or Meth movement         store owners and employees about
Venue: Bell Centre for the                                                                                  Rotary club.                             began in the summer of 2004 after        how to spot someone buying the
Performing Arts
                                                                   A Lower Mainland                           Robson and her husband, Gordy          a Salvation Army shelter in Maple        ingredients that are used to manu-
6250 144th Street.                                                 community fights                         Robson, the film’s producer, recent-     Ridge was flooded by the homeless.       facture meth.
                                                                                                            ly showed it to a Rotary club in           The majority of the approximate-         Among the many sub-groups,
                                                                   the meth scourge                         Maui. Hawaii has a huge problem          ly 400 men and women living rough        there’s a team that works with the
                                                                                                            with meth, and five Rotary clubs in      there were addicted to meth.             local paper on public awareness and
                                               64 Ave.
                                                                     One B.C. community’s unique            Maui are now trying to echo what’s         Mary Robson soon figured out that      an education group active in
                                                                   approach to tackling cr ystal            happening in Maple Ridge.                Maple Ridge didn’t have a problem        schools. The city is on board with
                                                                   methamphetamine is now a movie             Among local communities calling        with homelessness; it had a prob-        new bylaws penalizing property
 142 St.




                                                                   — with captive audiences as far          for help from Maple Ridge are Mis-       lem with crystal meth.                   owners for allowing labs in their
                                                         146 St.
                                     144 St.




                                                                   away as Maui.                            sion, Langley, Richmond, Creston,          “When somebody says somebody           rental homes, and the RCMP tar-
                                                                     Life or Meth: A Community Takes        Campbell River and Surrey.               should do something . . . quite often    geted meth and began to lobby local
                           60 Ave.                                 Action documents how Maple Ridge           The methamphetamine problem            you’re that somebody and you             Crown counsel to push for tougher
                                                                   embarked on a multi-partner anti-        in Surrey is acute, says RCMP            should just do it,” she says in the      sentences.
                                                                   meth movement. The 41-minute             Const. Marc Searle.                      film.                                      The initiative also extended to the
                                                                   film is a how-to guide for other           “It is the drug of choice,” he says.     Robson and her Rotary colleagues       justice system, where a team is
                                                                   towns facing the wide range of           The drug is linked to a variety of       called together local businesses,        watching and analyzing meth-
                                                                   issues associated with drug.             crimes and is showing up all across      media, health-care providers and         related court cases to track sen-
                                                                     Even though the rough cut of the       the city in every demographic.           social-service organizations to come     tencing trends.
                                                                   film has only just been finished, it’s     Limiting the damage from meth          up with a plan.                          ■ For more information about Life or
                                                                   already in demand.                       comes down to a combination of             Life or Meth emerged. In March of      Meth in Maple Ridge, go to www.crys-
                                                                     “We’re getting calls from all over     education, prevention and enforce-       2005, the community became the           talmethtaskforce.com
                                                                   the province,” says Mary Robson,         ment, Searle says — exactly the          first in Canada to roll out the Meth     ■ To order a copy of the film, e-mail
                                                                   who spearheaded the movement as          approach now under way in Maple          Watch program, which educates            maryrobson@robsonandassoc.com

				
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