Problem isn't going to go away without our help

Posted: Sunday, October 07, 2007

We can't ignore it any longer.

We have a problem in our community: It's called methamphetamines, or meth.

A presentation on Wednesday brought the issue into a more public light, but the truth is our local law enforcement isn't hearing anything new and hasn't for some time.

We tend to believe these issues can't touch us in our small communities, but guess what folks, we're wrong. And sometimes we're dead wrong.

Drugs are everywhere, and they affect everyone.

Wednesday's meeting at Kenai Central High School showed us how much it affects us drain cleaner, antifreeze, cat litter, lye; these ingredients are found in methamphetamine.

Krista Collinson knows.

"There is methamphetamine everywhere. I haven't been able to go to the grocery store or movies without seeing someone I know from the drug world," she told us.

But Krista has been one of the lucky ones. She came to the realization of what it was doing to her life before it was too late.

"My children were taken by the state, I lost my home. I got to the point where I was going to die if I didn't stop."

So she did.

Brittany West followed a similar path. She hooked up with meth in high school and took a detour that could have changed her life forever. But she made the decision to change her course.

"Luckily, I was arrested on a warrant. The officer brought me to the Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility. The officers there were told to give me a UA urine analysis to test for any illegal drugs because I was acting like I was high. When the results came back positive for coke (cocaine), opiates, THC (Tetrahydrocannabino marijuana) and methamphetamines, they booked me."

Brittany shared her story in the Clarion's first Verbatim column of the school year last week. Writing about her courageous decision to turn her life around took a lot of guts, but she said she has nothing to hide. Those who love and support her change know everything about her even the worst.

We're glad to see such positive efforts made to bring drug awareness to the central peninsula. Like we said, the problem is most definitely out there, it's just a matter of what we choose to see, and what we'll turn a blind eye to.

Krista and Brittany are only two of a growing group of people reaching out for help. Our hope is we, as a community, can be there to extend our hand and give them what they need to succeed.

Speaking of Verbatim, the column that gives area high school students the opportunity to speak their minds, we have the most diverse group of teen writers we've seen so far, with a variety of backgrounds, and all have had some remarkable experiences, even though they haven't yet graduated from high school.

We're pleased to see so many students take an interest in writing for us, and what they have to say should provide some good food for thought.

This year's contributors are Maya Johnson, Keeven Macik, Mallory Millay, Zack Misner, Thomas Osterman, Kadie Perletti, Maria Perzechino, Sophia Taeschner and Brittany West.

Give them a read and see what they have to say about the world around them. We think you'll be surprised, enlightened and entertained.

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