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Forum to detail danger of meth

By Staff | Jul 30, 2009

At a recent public meeting, new Maui Chief of Police Gary Yabuta said, “Everybody here knows somebody that has fallen to meth — close friends, family. The scary thing about meth is, these kids and adults don’t come back. They lost it. They never come back.”

It’s not an exaggeration to say that trying crystal methamphetamine just once can put you on the fast track to ruin and death.

Maybe you’ve seen the hard-hitting new television ads by the Hawaii Meth Project (HMP). Dedicated to reducing first-time methamphetamine use, this nonprofit organization will hold its first Maui community prevention forum for local teens and adults on Wednesday, Aug. 5, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Maui Community College Multipurpose Room.

All are welcome to attend the event to learn about the “Ice” issue on Maui, prevention efforts and the Hawaii Meth Project and its volunteer program. Speakers will include Mayor Charmaine Tavares; Circuit Court Judge Joseph Cardoza; Maui Police Capt. Gerald Matsunaga, vice commander in charge of narcotics; and Cindy Adams, executive director of the Hawaii Meth Project.

Methamphetamine is a very addictive synthetic stimulant that affects the brain’s pleasure centers. It is considered even more addictive than heroin, and the high of meth can last from six to 24 hours.

According to the HMP, the downward slide begins rapidly. Almost immediately, users build up a tolerance for the drug, causing them to vary the quantity, frequency or method of intake.

Long-term use may result in many disastrous effects, including violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, paranoia, auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances and delusions.

In the body, chronic meth abuse frequently leads to neurotoxicity (brain damage), respiratory problems, irregular heartbeat and irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, causing strokes, heart and kidney damage, cardiovascular collapse and death.

Young people on Maui need to know that meth is lethal, and their whole life can be over with one mistake.

“I was a heavy meth user from the age of 17. As a recovering addict, meth destroyed not only my family and my friendships, but it destroyed me physically, emotionally and mentally. It was a big wrong turn of my life,” a 21-year-old man told the Hawaii Meth Project.

“Please, we need to get rid of this drug once and for all. If we stand up and fight, maybe, just maybe, we can all find a way to kick this out of here for good. We must unite.”

Attend the forum and educate your kids, because this poison is out there. Visit www.hawaiimethproject.org for information.