Students learn meth prevention

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Students at Central High School got a unique lesson today in meth prevention. Members from the Colorado Meth Project, joined by Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, taught the students about the dangers of meth, the ingredients in it and why meth is so addictive.

The class, called the Meth Prevention Lesson, launches the project’s first in-class resource.

Though just a couple dozen students participated in the class, the goal is to get those students spreading the message to their peers.

“This is a peer-to-peer campaign and the most effective way to get this message out is through teens,” said Kent MacLennan, executive director for Colorado Meth Project. “A small group environment can turn into a big environment if they share the information.”

For student Gage Whalin, the experience was eye-opening.

“For how serious meth is, we really need to be active as leaders in our community,” Whalin said. “If other students aren’t educated like we were during this presentation, they might try it and it could affect their lives forever and change the course of their lives.”

Hautzinger said reaching out to teens is critical to prevent the problem from growing.

“I’ve been a prosecutor here since 1992 and hands down meth is the worst criminal justice problem I have ever seen, it’s the worst problem in this community,” Hautzinger said. “We’ve made progress but it’s not going away, so we have to keep on plugging away with efforts like this.”

The lessons will be available to teachers throughout the state on 400 students participated in a pilot program and 87 percent of students surveyed afterwards said the Meth Prevention Lesson made them less likely to try or use meth.

According to the Department of Justice, meth is the largest drug problem in the Rocky Mountain region, with the average age of first-time users less than 18 years old.

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