By Emily Banks Wooten
Several representatives of the local anti-drug program “Don’t Meth With Me” presented a program to the Rotary Club of Livingston recently.
Blair McDonald explained that the program is geared toward fifth-graders regarding the choices they make. He said the numbers to remember are 42, 84 and three because 42% of the people who try methamphetamine, or meth, once, will try it again; 84% never quit; and there is only a 3% recovery rate.
He explained that through the program they talk to the students about short-term goals and long-term goals and the choices they make, as well as who the people are that help them, be it parents, teachers, pastors or school counselors. They also teach the students what it is and what it does to people.
McDonald said the program is presented in every school district in the county and that he plans to continue it forever.
Simon Geller, a pastor and former police officer, told about the effects of meth and how they try to educate the students of the dangers of meth and provide them with an understanding of why not to do it. He spoke of the meth teeth, meth brain which is holes in the brain, meth sores and infections. “They’ve been high for 6 days and think bugs are crawling on them and they’re literally clawing their skin off.”
Another concern he addressed is how children are now being targeted with it by suppliers making it colorful and appealing and calling it candy.
Jeff, a former addict who is 10 years clean, also spoke of his experiences with meth use. He said it took over his whole life, that he would do anything to feed his addiction and that he spent 25 years in prison. He said that by doing meth he lost a lot of years of freedom, contracted hepatitis C and doesn’t have any teeth because they all rotted out. “Only bad things come from doing it. I couldn’t even be with my mom when she was dying of cancer because I was in prison.”