Breaking the crystal meth threat
A new Spanish-language campaign will try to prevent abuse of crystal meth among the Latino community of San Diego County.
A Través del Cristal Meth (On the Other Side of Crystal Meth), which was launched on Thursday, July 9th, at Rosa Parks Elementary School, is part of a national campaign aimed at Spanish-speaking parents to try to reduce demand for this highly addictive drug.
“The main goal is to unite Latino parents and help them protect their families from crystal meth,” said Alina Diaz, associate director of multicul-tural content development, for Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the non-profit organization based in New York that’s sponsoring the campaign.”
The campaign is designed to be co-delivered in teams comprised of law enforcement officers, substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals, as well as other community members committed to the cause of raising awareness at local organizations, schools, churches and parent groups.
Other cities where the Spanish-language campaign will be implemented include Las Vegas and Phoenix.
In San Diego, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America is joined by The San Diego Prevention Coalition, along with the Cinco de Mayo con Orgullo Coalition, a project of SAY San Diego (Social Advocates for Youth).
SAY San Diego is currently training its promotoras to deliver the presentations during the Binational Health Week in October in City Heights, said Yvette Huerta, drug-prevention specialist with the organization.
“We feel that by educating parents we’re giving them the tools to talk to their children about drugs,” Huerta said. “Information empowers them.”
Diaz said that, nationally, Latino youths are twice as likely as other ethnic groups to use crystal meth.
Michael Rubio, a narcotics detective with the San Diego Police Department, said that crystal meth, widely considered a “White-drug,” is gaining popularity among Latinos in San Diego.
“It is picking up,” said Rubio, who added that heroin is more prevalent among Latinos in the county. “Crystal meth is becoming the up and coming drug of choice among Latinos here.”
The detective said that the prevention campaign comes at the right time, because it will help stop the spread of crystal meth usage among young Latinos.
“It’s important that parents know about the drug, about what it looks like, about what symptoms to look for in their children,” he said.
Rubio said that in average, a common dose of the crystal meth, which is about four tenths of a gram, is anywhere from $20 to $40.
“It is a pretty pricey drug, but even then it is gaining popularity among Latino youth,” he said.
Rubio said that crystal meth is popular because it acts like an stimulant.
“It’s like a speed drug, it gives you a rush, an energy boost. It picks you up, makes you feel like you’re going 90 miles an hour,” he said.
But it is highly addictive and toxic, he added.
“It is a very addictive drug and very toxic, the narcotics detective said. “You’re putting lots of toxics into your body. It is very poisonous for the body.”
Among the side-effects of crystal meth are hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and “feeling like you have insects under your skin,” said Diaz, of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. “Kids have to keep in mind that this drug can be fatal.”
Diaz said that there are three things that parents can do to prevent use of crystal meth in their communities, which are learning about the drug, talking to their children, and passing the information to others.
To learn more about this campaign and about how to prevent drug-abuse, visit drugfree.org or call 1888-8NO-METH. There are Spanish-speaking operators available.
Organizations interested in having presentations in their communities, can contact SAY San Diego at (619) 582-9056 or visit www.saysandiego.org.