Arkansas Attorney General Praises Star City EAST During Recent Visit

   

Arkansas Attorney General Praises Star City EAST During Recent Visit
8/12/2013 3:09:22 PM

Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe visited the Star City High School's EAST Lab to review the student devised Lincoln County Crystal Meth Watch Program. Using a PowerPoint slide and printed materials, students Alex Harper, Cassie Drake, Grayson Moore and Morgan Drake presented the program for Beebe.

 

Attorney General Mike Beebe Lauds Star City's EAST Lab's Crystal Meth Watch Program

Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe visited the Star City High School's EAST Lab to review the student devised Lincoln County Crystal Meth Watch Program. Using a PowerPoint slide and printed materials, students Alex Harper, Cassie Drake, Grayson Moore and Morgan Drake presented the program for Beebe and other visitor that included Sheriff Larry McGee, Mayor Gene Yarbrough, District Judge Vic Harper and Camber of Commerce officers Keith Griffin and Pat Webb.

Alex Harper introduced the program's logo, which depicts a magnifying glass over a map of the state, an Arkansas flag and the name of the local program. Harper said other communities can use the logo by simply substituting their own name where Lincoln County is indicated. The logo says "Together We Can Make A Difference."

The student's main goal is to reduce the production and distribution of meth in Lincoln County and then in all of Arkansas by educating the public and gaining volunteers to display the meth watch logo in their businesses. The students plan to train general and grocery store owners and their employees about what to look for when meth producers come buying ingredients used to "cook" meth.

The students have already collaborated with Sheriff McGee and groups such as Mothers Against Meth, The Atlanta Crystal Meth Organization and the Kansas Meth Watch Program, which served as the model for the anti-meth program.

The students also cited getting help from an unlikely source: the Poinsett County jail, where they were allowed to interview a female meth addict incarcerated for meth-related crimes. The students said they were moved to tears by the testimony of the female addict, whom Harper described as looking and sounding 20 years older than her 42 years.

The inmate told the girls that she was hooked from the first time she tried the drug 19 years ago. She started out with a $20 a day habit which grew to an $800 dollar a day habit, which further lead her to a life of crime.

"We don't want to see our friends and our peers in this school wind up where she is today," said Harper. "She lost her family, she lost everything, she has nothing to her name, and we don't want this to happen to people that we care about."

"It's scary to know that there are children who grown up in this environment and know all about crystal meth," said Cassie Drake.

The student are working on a "Meth Watch" training video focusing on the ingredients meth cookers purchase to manufacture crystal meth and how to safely gather information on the purchaser for law enforcement agencies.

Grayson Moore said that the class has also completed various fact sheets about the drug tailored for different businesses, including farm supply, farmers, hardware stores and motels that explain what to look for and what to do if employees suspect someone is buying too much of the common products used in the production of meth such as ephedrine tablets, lye, rock salt, ammonia nitrate, and Coleman gas tanks, among other paraphernalia.

"It's very easy to make," said Cassie. "All the ingredients are readily accessible."

Moore said they surveyed 245 Star City High students about meth and discovered some startling results: 7% admitted using the drug, 21% said they know someone who makes the drug, and 34% said that they know someone who uses meth.

"We want to try," said Harper. "We know we can't stop every single meth producer in the state of Arkansas, but we want to put our best shot out there."

Harper then made a direct appeal to General Beebe, who was listening very closely, for help in promoting the Meth Program statewide.

Beebe said he was proud of the students for their efforts and their "track record." (Star City EAST students have previously won the Attorney General's annual award for their efforts 2 years ago in the Child Abduction Prevention Program in Star City)

"Young people doing this are to be commended about what you do in community based projects trying to improve the quality of life," said Beebe. "Part of what my office can be doing and should be doing is to highlight your efforts and to try and spread the word so other people can emulate that. You can certainly provide the kind of leadership needed to make a difference in Star City or Lincoln County and cause another part of the state to try and make a difference. We can use the bully pulpit of the attorney general's office to help you spread that effort out."

Beebe then invited the students to participate in a bill his office is introducing at the legislative session that would take all of the tablet components essential to making meth such as ephedrine and pseudophedrine, out of the stores and into pharmacies. He invited the students to testify before the legislature about this bill and what they are doing in Lincoln County.

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