Mesa County Task Force Says It's Winning War Against Meth

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

In the two years since it was created, the Mesa County Meth Task Force says local law enforcement is winning the war against methamphetamine.

"It's a small percentage of people that do it, but when you're part of that percentage it seems like all you know," said Chris Foster.

23-year-old Foster says he started using meth when he was 16. He says getting high on the drug made him feel happy, and that's why it was so hard for him to realize there was a problem.

"It took a lot to convince me it was time to stop," said Foster.

Foster's drug use eventually led to his involvement in the Parsons Meth Ring, the Wieberg murder case, and ultimately landed him in jail. Now he's sober, has a full time job, and has aspirations to go to college.

The Mesa County meth task force says Foster is just one of the many success stories it has to tell.

"We've really put a big dent in the supply," said Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubenstein. "We've made it a lot harder to get drugs into Mesa County and to distribute them locally."

The District Attorney's Office says drug arrests are up 19 percent. The Grand Junction Police Department says they made 646 meth arrests in 2007. The District Attorney's Office also says other meth related crimes like burglary and forgery are down.

"Meth is not on the forefront of people's minds," said Rubenstein. "That tells us that we're being effective in what we're doing."

The task force admits, however, that there's still a lot of work to be done. Officials hope to continue making arrests, but even more important they say, is to prevent people from trying meth in the first place.

"What we know about prevention is there is no silver bullet," said Angie Wickersham, Coordinator of the Mesa County Meth Task Force.

To help, the task force unveiled a new commercial about meth endangered children and what the public can do if they suspect abuse. The task force is currently working on a meth documentary that will be released later this year. Then there's people like Foster, who it hopes can inspire users to get help.

"I've been in the paper through some bad incidents and I'm hoping to show that change is possible," said Foster. "I am not that person anymore."

The District Attorney's Office says there were more than two-thousand felony filings in meth related cases in 2007.

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