Many of the gateway drugs are already finding their way into Kitimat which means it is vitally important to educate our youth before heavier drugs find their way.
Mark McLaughlin, executive director and founder of Crystal Meth BC, visited Mount Elizabeth Secondary for a no-holds-barred presentation that dove deeply into the effects of the dangerous drug, methamphetamine.
If anyone should know how meth can impact a life it’s him - his child (the gender was not identified) once fell into the habit and it was only through constant support that the child was able to kick it.
The silver lining is the incident led to the founding of the meth society, which has so far reached 35,000 people with their presentations.
“Our kid got meth involved. We were looking for help and we decided we should try to do something about this issue and the Crystal Meth Society arose as a result,” McLaughlin explained.
While he admits that people can, and do come back from meth addiction, it is a difficult process, sometimes taking years.
What he hopes people take away from his speech is that it’s not a road worth going down in the first place.
McLaughlin’s presentation doesn’t hold back and includes a video segment which at one point follows a paramedic crew from deployment to arriving to find a frail, naked man who had overdosed lying on the floor of his apartment.
Another video was a clip from the Bait Car program (bait cars are designed to be stolen and can be tracked and shut off instantly while the occupant is recorded) where a junkie high on meth screamed nonsensically as he barreled down a city street at over 120 km/h.
Compared to other drugs, meth is off the scale. “Crystal meth is about three to four times as powerful as crack cocaine,” he said. “The brain is wrecking itself every time it gets this drug applied to it.”
To compare the affect the drug has on the brain, consider that a pleasant dinner and social evening can release 50 parts-per-million (ppm) of dopamine in the brain. An alcoholic beverage releases 150 ppm and a hit off a crack cocaine pipe releases 350.
But an inhalation off a meth pipe releases 1,250 ppm in the brain.
“Meth is off the scale,” said McLaughlin. “I consider it a poison.”
Feedback on the website indicates many people get addicted after their first use.
Kitimat’s youth are not sheltered from drugs. McLaughlin asked the students - from grades six to 12 - to raise their hands if they knew of anyone who had tried the drug ecstasy.
Nearly everyone in the room raised their hands.
Very few raised their hands when asked of the same question regarding meth, suggesting Kitimat hasn’t yet been hit by the substance.
Kitimat RCMP Constable Dave Fahlman, who spoke to the kids in the second meth presentation last Friday, said marijuana and magic mushrooms are common in town, but the harsher meth not so much.
He also cautioned that living in rural areas poses an additional hazard for drug users as drugs may be contaminated with other substances as they are passed from dealer to dealer all along the highway.