‘We’re being stalked by it’: Methamphetamine solutions the subject of conference | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘We’re being stalked by it’: Methamphetamine solutions the subject of conference

Sheila Gardner

MINDEN – More than 200 people from 12 Nevada counties and Northern California packed a conference room at the Carson Valley Inn on Friday to learn what they could do to combat the effects of methamphetamine.

“Given all the serious challenges that face us, I’ve never seen one more serious than what we’re talking about today. We’re being stalked by it,” said Washoe Tribal Chairman Brian Wallace in opening remarks.

Wallace said the problem crossed racial, economic and social boundaries.

“Fighting this binds us together more closely than ever. We’re all looking for strong, healthy children. We’re watching our communities eat themselves from within,” he said.

The Partnership of Community Resources and the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California sponsored the daylong program on methamphetamine to educate participants on the extent of the problem and how the community can come up with solutions.

Speakers came from several disciplines including law enforcement, and treatment professionals.

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Carson City author Ellen Hopkins who wrote the novel “Crank” based on her daughter’s experience with methamphetamine was the lunch speaker.

She referred to methamphetamine as “the monster” and said her daughter’s story was her story, too.

“If you are a parent, put the blame aside,” she said. “There’s plenty of blame to go around, but it’s not about the blame. It’s about trying to help them.”

Cristi Cain, project coordinator for the Kansas Methamphetamine Prevention Project, outlined what communities can do.

In dealing with drug-endangered children, she said communities shouldn’t wait for tragedy to strike. She told the story of a baby in Kansas born addicted to methamphetamine who was returned to the custody of his mother. Three weeks later he died from shaken-baby syndrome.

She recommended communities take a local approach.

“There’s a tendency to go global, but it’s much more successful at the community level because of different policies and different agencies in communities.”

During a community strategy session at the end of the formal presentations, NAPA Auto Parts store owner Robert Simpson said he was surprised that his store and similar businesses sell supplies used in the production of methamphetamine.

“We sell three-quarters of them. I had no clue,” Simpson said. “If we just get the information out.”

Simpson said in his work as an associate pastor, he sees what he called “the other side.”

“It kind of shocks me, especially when you see start talking about the children,” Simpson said.

Partnership executive director Cheryl Bricker said she was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s a dream to be together with this many people who want to address this problem,” Bricker said. “Sometimes you go along thinking you’re fighting this battle alone. It was very gratifying to see how energized people are to go to work in their communities. This is very powerful.”

Friday’s conference was the initial step in a community response to combating the drug.

Participants from Douglas County agreed to meet in two weeks to continue the momentum generated by the workshop.

“This is a start to a community process to identify the problem, look at resources, set up a plan, and look at prevention and intervention,” said Steve Lewis, education educator of the University of Nevada, Reno, Cooperative Extension Office in Gardnerville.

Other sponsors included Carson Valley Medical Center, Carson Valley Inn, Starbucks Coffee and the National Association of Social Workers.