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Meth meeting geared toward action

About 75 people gathered at the United Methodist Church in Grass Valley late Friday to map out community actions to fight methamphetamine addiction.

Participants of the Women’s Town Hall Meting on Meth returned, over and over again, to a single theme: Meth addiction affects everyone, and everyone needs to get involved to solve the problem.

Deborah Jordan, who had been viciously assaulted two and a half years ago by a meth user, set the tone when she read a letter sent to her just days ago from her assailant. Jacob Hill wrote from a state prison:



“I believe people use drugs to escape pain and because they have little purpose in life. … To have purpose in life, you want to have a family, support them, spend time with them, draw close to God.

“There are so many things I wish I had done differently. For me, it seems like it’s too late.”




Then the women, and a few men, broke off into groups to talk about what they could do. Their own stories started coming out.

A teacher: “I’m tired of people saying, ‘it’s in the schools, why don’t the teachers do anything?’ We’re doing everything we can, but our hands are tied.”

A woman who works with women in jail 12-step groups: “They tell me, ‘When you go to Juvenile Hall, say hello to my kids.'”

A neighbor: “They grow marijuana for medicinal reasons. The kids are out. They say the parents are sleeping.”

Another mother: “My daughters were terribly addicted to drugs and I didn’t know. I wish somebody would have called me.”

After more than an hour of brainstorming, participants came with these ideas:

Prevention

• Get all the mothers together, march down to meth labs and post Zero-Tolerance signs

• Plan a March Against Meth

• Develop teen talk circles

• Study Mothers Against Drunk Driving for strategies

• Study the court system and get involved in elections of court officials

Education in Schools

• Get a curriculum into the hands of people who need it

• Develop a resource booklet for students who ask for help

• Identify and work around roadblocks to education

In the Community

• Get the media more involved

• Develop a resource guide so people know what help is available

• Put resources on the county Web site

• Get video cameras into the hands of teenagers for programs that can be shown on local television

• Tell the stories of what recovering addicts need, including year-round jobs

• Tell about the cost of not funding recovery, including crime

• Get the hospital to have an education program

Recovery

• The area needs more recovery transition homes for men and women

• Families need to educate themselves on what support they can give to the recovering family member

• Take addicts to places where they can be of service to community

• Develop a recovery program for atheists that is not based on belief in a higher power

• Community-wide fundraising

• Support and spread the word about existing programs that work

Neighborhood Watch

• Get to know your neighbors, their habits and their vehicles

• When you see something suspicious, call the authorities

• Organize your neighbors, using the excuse of fire safety if necessary

• Get their telephone numbers and e-mail addresses and share with each other

• Ask PG&E to install lighting if your street is dark

• Post Zero-Tolerance signs

• Take ownership of our neighborhoods.

• Pay attention to what’s going on, including peculiar smells

“The biggest thing I want to see come out of this is a resource directory that tells us all what is going on in our community and where to get help,” Jordan said.

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To contact staff writer Trina Kleist, e-mail trinak@theunion.com or call 477-4231.

Upcoming events related to the Women’s Town Hall Meeting on Meth:

• To get involved in one of the circles, call Marilyn Nyborg at 477-7883 or Dixie Redfearn at 477-4238.

• Benefit Blues Concert to support recovering addicts and their families: 1-6 p.m. March 5, at Constable Jack’s in Newcastle; cost is $5. For information, contact the sponsor, the Recovery Alumni Association, at P.O. Box 2643, Grass Valley, 95945.

• Gather the Women will “weave an evening of inspiration, music and movement” to celebrate International Women’s Day at 6:45 p.m. March 8, at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City; cost is $5. For information, call 477-7883.


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