‘Unselling’ Meth Through Awareness
By David Earles, Executive Director, Hawaii Meth Project
Every time a question was asked, his hand shot up. Gradually, he slowed down a little because he realized he was the only student answering. And in sixth grade, you don’t want to stand out quite that much.
Hawaii Meth Project’s 2013-14 Teen Advisory Council (front, from left): Kayla Yamada, Erica Brenner, Jasey Frasco, Mari Domingo, Erica Owan, (middle) Dakota Mengel, Alicia Huliganga, McKayla Wandell, Markus Perry, Ryan Kono, Kehaulani Likio, (back) Hannah Carnes, John Ortega, Ian Sanborn and Brittany Amano | Photo from Hawaii Meth Project
When the presenter asked, “What are some of the street names for meth?,” the student knew six. He later rattled off five of the key ingredients used to make meth before the speaker asked him to let others have the chance to respond too. “What is meth mouth?” That was easy. “What is tweaking?” He didn’t even pause.
The presenter and the teacher exchanged a few knowing looks throughout the 75-minute presentation, and chatted with the student after the room had cleared.
Sure enough, his brother was a current user. His uncle was a user. Every day he saw the negative impact meth had on the people he loved.
Hawaii Meth Project is a nonprofit organization that implements large-scale, research-based campaigns and community action programs to reduce methamphetamine use in the state. The goal of our organization is to “un-sell” meth through meth-awareness lessons, community service projects and anti-meth campaigns in our schools and communities.
Last year, our organization engaged more than 103,000 teens statewide through school and community out-reach events. In addition, more than 950 teens and 300 adults took the time to volunteer at these events.
We are making progress.
Yet there are still far too many hands raised in classrooms in Hawaii, when students are asked, “How many of you have ever seen a meth pipe?” – and far too many live with the destruction that is crank, batu, ice …
This must change.
In this case, firsthand knowledge is a terrible thing. We must keep going until no child sitting in such a presentation for the first time is able to raise his or her hand.
For more information about Hawaii Meth Project and how to get involved, visit hawaiimethproject.org.
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