School leaders learn how to fight a drug’s lure

District Attorney Pete Hautzinger talks to the Central High School student senate class about the meth problem in the valley.



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District Attorney Pete Hautzinger talks to the Central High School student senate class about the meth problem in the valley.

If students are going to persuade their peers never to try meth, they should be armed with some good reasons why.

That was the lesson some 20 Central High School students in the school’s student senate came away with Monday after a presentation by representatives with the Colorado Meth Project.

Methamphetamine, which is a chemical cocktail made with the main ingredient in drain cleaners, fertilizers and brake fluid, did not sound like something student Blake Rogers wanted to try.

“I can’t imagine chugging acetone,” he said.

Students were barraged with several examples of how destructive meth is to users. Central High School’s service learning teacher, Jeena Williams, showed videos from the Colorado Meth Project’s website that featured teenagers telling horror stories about their experiences using the drug.

For example, 19-year-old Rochelle, who started using meth when she was 16, spoke of seeing different faces on people she knew.

“It is really freaky,” she said on the video.

Others spoke of feeling bugs crawling underneath their skin or losing muscle, even after only using for a month.

“The point is we never want you to try meth,” Williams said. “You have to be a good influence. The goal is to educate you so you can speak up, so you have a lot of ammunition.”

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger told students about the dead-end paths meth users face in the criminal justice system. Meth use can trigger aggression and can be particularly dangerous as users become paranoid and hallucinate that people are out to get them.

“Most of the violent crimes my office has handled over the last few years are fueled by meth,” he said.

Hautzinger said the irony of meth is that people think it helps with weight loss, but when you use the drug it makes you ugly by distorting your body and creating sores.

Near the end of the session, presenters asked students to come up with a way to persuade someone who was thinking about using meth not to use it.

“You can tell anybody not to do anything, but it helps to be specific,” student Nichole McIvor said. “This is giving us the tools to tell other students not to do it.”

Colorado Meth Project’s meth prevention lesson is available for free to educators.

According to the nonprofit agency, after conducting the lesson to 400 students in a pilot program, 87 percent of students said that information made them less likely to try meth, and 89 percent of the respondents said if a friend or family member were thinking about trying it they would recommend they go to the meth prevention website.

For information and to access the free materials for teachers, go to http://www.colorado.methproject.org.



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