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Op-Ed: Strike Force Police and Meth as a Political Campaign IssueTim King Salem-News.com
More money for more strike force cops and more arrests, more people in jail, more kids in an overcrowded foster care system, all in the fight against Meth, but who is being served? I've seen the Republican meth fighters come to a meth house before, once. They stayed long enough to have their pictures taken and do a couple of interviews, then it was off to lunch and bigger and better things.
(SALEM) - Despite the fanfare and talk, we're nowhere close to solving the meth problem here in Oregon. Instead the problem only worsens as we assemble teams of "strike force police" and politicians hold elaborate affairs where many people are celebrated and many others are patted on the back, while kids outside the building snort lines, live homeless, and have no idea what is going on where all the business people have gathered.
I've seen the Republican meth fighters come to a meth house before, once. They stayed long enough to have their pictures taken and do a couple of interviews, then it was off to lunch and bigger and better things.
These are the guys who want to save you from paying more in taxes, as your once-proud state buckles and falls to its knees from a lack of government support.
No way, the end is not anywhere in sight at this point in Oregon. I'm not trying to say that Senator Jackie Winter's efforts aren't sincere, I'm sure she means well and of course she would like to help end the problem, but too many state officials spend too little time in the trenches and they are far too separated from the subjects they claim to have all the answers for.
No way, I'm not buying it.
Who brought this home cooked meth problem on anyway? Oh yeah, that was you Uncle Sam wasn't it? You thought our moms had just gone too far back in the day with their diet pills, it was time for mother's little helpers to go away, at least the ones that were traditionally used to control weight called methamphetamines.
So in 1983, the FDA banned one of the ingredients used in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical called Phenyl-2-Propane, and that's when it went underground where it lives and breathes today.
You see, methamphetamine never went out of control before '83, it never wreaked havoc on a nation. It was an FDA approved drug that doctors prescribed, and while it may have caused problems for some, it wasn't brewing in motel bathtubs that you might want to put your baby in, or in lowered Hondas going up and down Lancaster.
So our ever so insightful government made it impossible to have the better quality methamphetamine, one that legitimate companies and outlaw motorcycle clubs made profits from, and now we have a mess that is a hundred times bigger.
It gets worse. Former addicts who have it together and, say, own and operate a drug rehabilitation center, are denied entry in any Salem/Keizer school. They may save lives and help others in their quests for sobriety for two decades, but that old drug conviction will keep them from sharing what they learned with those who need it most.
Then there is the school of thought in our county and federal government that nothing "shocking" has any value when it comes to educating kids. Again, I don't buy it. I was a kid, it wasn't that long ago, and in my world shock value was real, led to a vivid memory in most cases, and the lesson stuck.
But don't show the kids how ugly meth user's teeth become, shield them from the reality of it all, just give them "positive answers." Don't get me wrong, that's a great idea for some kids, for others, being scared straight can last a lifetime.
A dose of reality about what meth does to a person's appearance could go a long way with a teenage girl.
I wish Jackie Winters would take all this cash and start a big public facility where meth addicts could go and seek treatment and group counciling without any legal intervention. But for something to work, you need former users who learned how to beat their problems.
Standard society has to learn to re-embrace people. Former users need support in big ways and we aren't finding out what those ways are; we're just arresting them, and arresting them, and arresting them.
D.A.R.E. Programs are effective for kids. Direct education can do the trick. When they hit their teens everything needs to notch up. Families have to talk about the ugliness of meth and they have to teach their kids how dangerous it is. They also need to teach them about all the interesting things in life and get them going in another direction.
Finally, consider the Gateway Theory for just a moment and ask youself this question: Do we as a society have ourselves to blame, when we constantly repeat the same information, and convince kids that one thing always leads to another?
I have a great friend that I used to surf with named Joey Simpson who killed himself in the early 1980's over his guilt from going "off the wagon" with his heroin use. I'll tell you this much, if he had any idea how much he would be missed, if he only knew that almost everybody would not judge him harshly for an addiction he truly wanted to beat, he probably wouldn't have done it.
But society gave him enough of a head trip to end it all, and everyone in that California beach town grew up surfing without one of the very best after that.
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