PRESCOTT Showing pictures of methamphetamine addicts and how their appearance changes with prolonged use, Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT) Sgt. R.D. Moffitt described the drug effects on the body during the Drugs 101 presentation.
"This is what meth does to people," he said, displaying mugshots of addicts with sores on their faces, who also appear to have aged over a short period of time.
About 60 people gathered this past week at the Dexter Family Resource Center in Prescott for the Drugs 101 class geared for parents and guardians of high school-age students.
Yavapai County Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert Brutinel, who is also co-chair of the Yavapai County Methamphetamine Advisory Task Force (MATForce), said that their presence is a sign that the community is becoming more aware of the drug problem.
"We have a tremendous problem with the drugs, but specifically with methamphetamine," Brutinel said.
He said 400 children are in foster care because their parents can't take care of them.
"I've seen parents who can't remember they had kids," Brutinel said.
The drug problem is a community problem that affects the school system and businesses.
"You have the right to demand that the community addresses this problem and finds effective solutions," Brutinel said. "There are solutions. I saw people who have managed to beat the problem. This (raising awareness) is the first step in getting our community back."
Moffitt then explained what the job of PANT officers entails.
"Getting drugs off the street is not so easy," he said, adding that PANT mainly targets people who are distributing drugs within the county.
Although the meth is pervasive there is no shortage of marijuana, heroin and cocaine on the streets.
He said in recent months three or four fatalities occurred as a result of heroin overdoses.
"Once we wiped that source (the supplier) out, no more such incidents occurred," he said.
Moffitt also displayed a pipe and said that is legal to possess it unless there is residue in it.
He said a gram of crystal meth sells for $110 on the street, although dealers usually break it into $40 increments or about 1/4-gram.
He said a myth that meth helps people lose weight is inaccurate.
"I've seen heavy set men using meth," he said.
He said meth users consume 1,000 milligrams of meth every three hours. In contrast, prescription uses of amphetamines are typically between 2.5 milligrams and 15 milligrams a day.
The addicts experience "the rush" which he described as five to 30 minutes of exhilaration.
Their "high" lasts between four and 16 hours. The binge is continuation of the "high" maintained by more meth but with smaller euphoric rushes until there is no rush and no high, he said.
It can last between 3 and 15 days before a user crashes.
The use of this drug is closely related to dramatic increases in violent and property crimes, Moffitt said.
"They have weapons on them all the time," he said, which often presents a risk for the officers.
Meth users could smoke, snort, inject and eat this to get high, Moffitt said, adding that 90 percent of this drug in Arizona comes across the border from Mexican superlabs.
Two other speakers took the stage after Moffitt's presentation, which attendee Carey Davidson described as very informative.
"I work with the addicts every day," said Davidson of Medication Management Systems, LLC. "It's no longer a hidden disease. It is something that is affecting the mainstream population Š There needs to be more awareness created, but this is the first step."
Choices Director Diane Bruck, who has been in alcohol and drug recovery for 20 years but now works with meth addicts, said although she appreciated the presentations, she would like to hear more stories from addicts, including teen-agers in recovery.
Sharing personal experiences tend to have a greater impact on the audience, she said.
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