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Let's talk about meth

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No one grows up saying, “Someday I’m going to be a meth addict.” But meth addiction happens every day and it ruins lives.

Methamphetamine use in Crow Wing County has not gone anywhere. It’s here, and according to those who see it most, it’s getting worse.

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We found out firsthand how pervasive meth addiction is in the lakes area when an area family appeared on our front page after losing its home to a house fire one week and appeared again just a few days later with drug charges — among them meth possession.

This, after the Dispatch, along with other area businesses, offered to collect clothes and household items to help them get back on their feet.

People wanted to help the family, and having met them, I believe they wanted help.

The power of addiction can sometimes make help difficult to find.

But the situation started a conversation. It made us ask why is this such an issue? How pervasive is it in our community?

The hard truth is — it’s a pretty big problem.

Up until the last decade, methamphetamine use wasn’t even on the radar for area law enforcement. Now, Sgt. Joe Meyer of the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department says it’s a daily issue.

“It’s still affecting families,” Meyer said. “Unfortunately it’s very prevalent in our community.”

Area law enforcement and social services workers are working hard to weed out this epidemic, but it’s not going to be easy. Every day they hear stories, or worse, confront situations where meth use has done its best to destroy someone hopelessly addicted to it.

“I wish I could say we’re working ourselves out of a job,” Meyer said. “But the truth is — we’re not­.”

This story of meth use in Crow Wing County may not be breakings news, but it is something we as a community should be talking about. Meth doesn’t only destroy the lives of those who are entrapped in using, it destroys entire families, it compromises the safety of communities, and breeds crime and health concerns. Given enough time, it will take everything. This is something that affects all of us.

We wanted to educate our readers on facts about meth use in the area, what area agencies are doing to help curb the epidemic and more importantly share the stories of some of those who have overcome their addiction. Their lives show that there is hope for those caught in the seemingly bottomless pit of addiction. The only way to bring something out of the darkness is to shed a little light on it.

SARAH NELSON KATZENBERGER may be reached at sarah.nelsonkatzenberger@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5879.

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