Help is at hand for changing our approach to dangerous drugs. New resources are being developed and deployed to help rescue Americans from the grip of crystal methamphetamine, or meth.
According to a survey taken in 2004, an estimated 12 million people in the United States ages 12 and older had tried meth at least once, and 1.4 million of those had used it within the last year. In addition, law enforcement agencies nationwide ranked meth as one of the top drugs responsible for increasing violent crime rates in communities, according to a 2003 National Drug Intelligence Center survey.
A new meth toolkit addresses this raging issue with a CD-R that includes seven comprehensive information and action guides for specific audiences, enabling them to work collaboratively and form coalitions to raise awareness and fight the meth epidemic in their communities. The toolkits include:.
• A Meth Primer: provides basic facts on meth, myths and truths about the drug, and offers examples and statistics showing that meth is a severe threat to the health and safety of communities.
• A Guide for Community Leaders: includes specific examples of what is working in other communities and steps to build a coalition to combat the meth issue, and identifies how to mobilize local resources and implement plans for meth prevention projects.
• A Guide for Schools: outlines the signs and symptoms of meth use and exposure, provides tips for school guidance counselors, nurses and administrators on how to help students who are using meth and other drugs, and provides five, 50-minute lesson plan examples that introduce the dangers of meth to students of all ages.
• A Guide for Parents: describes the signs and symptoms of meth use, gives tips for talking to children about meth and other drugs, explains reasons why adolescents use meth, and provides specific examples of what parents can do to keep their children off meth.
• A Guide for Health Care Professionals: outlines the various medical complications of meth use, describes common emergency room treatment procedures for meth users, explains how first responders can help children who have been exposed to meth, and gives example protocols for medical evaluation of children found at a meth lab.
• A Guide for Employers: includes statistics on the high cost of drug abuse and growing rate of meth use on the job, explains what to do if an employee is suspected of drug use on the job, and provides instruction on how to develop a workplace policy that addresses drug addiction.
• A Campaign Resources Guide: provides sample cover letters to community members introducing a meth awareness campaign, three sample press releases to recruit community support and gain media attention, printable fact sheets about meth, four sample awareness posters and a meth resource directory.
The meth toolkit from the nonprofit Hazelden Foundation, a national leader in drug and alcohol addiction treatment, also includes three documentary videos illustrating the devastating effects of meth from a broad range of perspectives.