With education the main weapon in the battle against methamphetamine use, Lyon County social service providers are holding forums on the drug throughout this month.
Meth forums will be held tonight in Silver Springs, Tuesday in Yerington, March 16 in Fernley and March 21 in Dayton.
Christy McGill, of Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey counties, said meth is more insidious than marijuana and alcohol.
"One thing that makes meth so difficult and dangerous is the collateral damage," she said. "Most people hooked on pot and booze can still function at some level. With meth, a lot of crime is around it, and you can't be an effective parent if you're on meth."
McGill said that Oregon has passed strict restrictions in the sale of Sudafed, noting that the federal law that regulates Sudafed and similar medications doesn't include convenience stores, so meth makers can buy larger quantities from convenience stores than they can from pharmacies.
She said Lyon County has done a good job closing down home meth labs, of which the area may soon see a resurgence.
McGill said most of the meth sold in the United States is smuggled in from Mexico, and that the superlabs there are having difficulty getting Sudafed, thanks to pressure the U.S. government is putting on manufacturers.
"This has to be a three-pronged attack, with enforcement, prevention and treatment," she said.
Lyon County Commissioner Bob Milz pledged to budget more funds to fight the meth epidemic.
"The county is willing to step up to the plate and join with communities," he said. "We can work on enforcement and improve recreation to give kids more to do."
Sheriff Allen Veil agreed that enforcement alone wasn't the answer. "Combating teen drinking and meth use is a team effort,."
He said his philosophy was stepped-up enforcement, as well as better cooperation with prosecutors, judges and social-service providers and parents.
"We want to be the people involved in education and prevention," he said. "We will work with staff on setting programs up."
Veil said most crimes were related to substance abuse, in particular methamphetamine, which he said also had a negative effect on the economy, leading to increased poverty.
"It has an effect on the economy, not only what we spend fighting it, but what the addicts spends on meth," he said. "When they buy meth, they're not buying other things."
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 882-2111, ext. 351.
• 6 p.m. today at Silver State High School, Silver Springs
• 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Boys & Girls Club, Yerington
• 6 p.m. March 16 at Fernley High School
• 6 p.m. March 21 at Dayton High School multipurpose room.
CALL: (775) 246-7550