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Crystal Meth Society After Presentation, 94% Of Students Said They'd Never Take Crystal Meth

What: Be Crystal Clear, presentation about crystal meth
Where: Spencer Middle School, 1026 Goldstream Ave.
When: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28
Tickets: Free, information at www.crystalmethbc.ca

As Mark McLaughlin places bottles of Drano, antifreeze, brake fluid, acetone, camping fuel, rat poison and paint remover on a table, his audience is filled with growing horror.

These toxic chemicals can burn on contact, corrode water pipes, decompose paint. Who in their right minds would pour a deadly cocktail of them into their bodies?

Children do, says McLaughlin, to get high.

These are ingredients of crystal methamphetamine -- a cheap, deadly, readily available illegal drug in Canada -- and it's no surprise people and families are blown up by the mixture.

It's also no wonder the drug is infamous for horrifically aging people, for causing them to tear off their clothes like madmen.

"They literally burn up," he says. "It's like burning the candle at both ends with a blow torch."

McLaughlin doesn't discuss details, but says a family member was once consumed by the addiction and almost died. The experience drove him to found the Crystal Meth Society -- a group of parents, professionals and businesspeople such as Don Monsour, chairman of B.C. Culinary Tourism, and Bob Parrotta, food and beverage director at Butchart Gardens -- to educate people about drugs, and halt their use.

The society will give a free presentation called Be Crystal Clear at 7 p.m. Thursday in Spencer Middle School, 1026 Goldstream Ave.

Parents, students, counsellors, paramedics, firefighters, care workers, educators and others can learn "how to step up to the plate and protect their community and recognize symptoms."

Langford city council is sponsoring the event. "Everybody wins when kids stay drug-free," says Langford Mayor Stew Young. "Families, our community and our health-care system are better off, and that's important to us."

In 2008, more than 22,000 students saw the presentation. Last year, due to reduced provincial funding, only 9,000 had that chance. In questionnaires handed out after each show, 94 per cent of students said they would never take meth after seeing it, and 96 per cent said other kids should attend the presentation.

The group is also in demand with health care and policing groups. Last fall, McLaughlin gave a four-hour in-service training seminar to 70 health care providers at Victoria General Hospital, spoke to the B.C. Association of Police Chiefs and was invited ( all expenses paid ) to give a presentation at the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse conference in Halifax, with 500 attendees.

Victoria police Chief Jamie Graham says: "The Crystal Meth Society has a proven track record for positive change with youth ... I can think of few that do such great work in our community."

The Crystal Meth Society has donation boxes at all Thrifty Foods stores this month.

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Crystal Meth SocietyCrystal Meth UsersEnforcementGovernmentParent ResourcesPersonal StoriesPublic Meetings