July 8, 2008
Teams of elected officials, Sheriff’s deputies, treatment providers and public health workers went door-to-door today in Imperial Beach distributing refrigerator magnets and “Get Off Meth” brochures.
“We hope the magnets and brochures will encourage meth users to seek treatment for their drug addiction and alert the community to the insidious nature of meth-related crime,” said Chairman Greg Cox from the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors.
Cox was joined by Vice-Chairwoman Dianne Jacob; Nick Macchione, Director for the County’s Health and Human Services Agency; Undersheriff Bill Gore; Imperial Beach Mayor Jim Janney; Sheriff’s deputies, and several representatives from prevention and treatment agencies. Together, they went to businesses and homes in a section of the city distributing the magnets and brochures and encouraging residents to report suspicious activity or get treatment by calling the Meth Hotline at (877) NO2-METH.
“Meth hot spots exist all throughout San Diego County. Fortunately communities in the region have recognized how meth threatens the public health and safety of residents and are becoming involved in the fight against meth,” added Cox.
Working together with law enforcement agencies, organizations like the County’s Health and Human Services Agency and its Alcohol and Drug Services division, the Institute for Public Strategies, and the McAlister Institute have made great progress in the fight against methamphetamines.
The number of meth deaths dropped nearly 30 percent to 174 in 2006 after surpassing 200 the previous three years. The number of meth-related emergency visits also dropped more than 20 percent in 2006. Meth lab clean-ups and seizures have dropped significantly.
This is thanks to the great effort of the Meth Strike Force and approximately 70 organizations and agencies that have been addressing meth-related problems throughout the region.
“We’ve made considerable progress against meth,” said Jacob, who was instrumental in the creation of the meth strike force. “But the work is not done. Too many people are still abusing this powerful, addictive, and deadly stimulant.”
Meth abuse continues to claim victims, destroy families and eat away at communities. In 2006, there were 5,811 admissions at local treatment centers.
A meth addiction usually leads to a life of crime, primarily identity theft, check forgery and fraud. Also, 39 percent of all adult arrestees and 10 percent of juveniles arrested in the region in 2006 tested positive for meth.
“People use meth for various reasons. But regardless of the reason, the result is almost always the same. Tolerance for the drug quickly develops, leading people to become addicted in a short time,” said Macchione, who is also a Tri-Chair of the Meth Strike Force. “Communities and individuals can and do recover from the effects of this devastating drug. The Health and Human Services Agency and its many partners offer residential and non-residential treatment services throughout the County to help meth users kick their addictions.”
Family and friends can help their loved ones escape the tragedy of a addiction by recognizing the symptoms and knowing where to get help. Some of the signs of a meth addict include:
- Does he or she have trouble sleeping?
- Has the person lost interest in school, work, and other activities he or she once enjoyed?
- Is he or she eating less?
- Have you noticed burns or track marks on their skin, or nasal problems?
- Is he or she withdrawing from family and friends?
- Has the person become violent or aggressive?
- Have you noticed drug paraphernalia in the home?
- Is he or she acting secretive, and telling lies?
This phase of the “Get Off Meth” campaign builds on past efforts to reach women in jail and County residents in emergency rooms. The magnets will be distributed throughout the region by the Sheriff’s Department Crime Prevention and COPPS Units.
Since the Meth Hotline was established in December of 1996, more than 8,000 calls have come in. About half were from people seeking treatment help and the rest from residents reporting a meth-related crime. Also, 163 arrests are directly attributed to leads from the Meth Hotline.
People in need of meth treatment or wishing to report suspicious activity are encouraged to call (877) NO2-METH or visit www.no2meth.org.