The Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia’s Professional Advisors Committee hosted a community education event on the Georgia Meth Project. The event, sponsored by Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, brought together citizens and business leaders from across the county to learn valuable facts about the use of Meth in our community and the importance of community awareness and advocacy about this drug.
The statistics were startling. Only 5% of Meth users are ever able to break their addiction. 30-40% of people that try Meth are addicted after the first time. A Meth high is five times greater than the high of cocaine and lasts for 6-12 hours. 67% of kids in foster care have at least one parent on Meth. Among the 50 states, Georgia has the third highest number of Meth users, age 12-17 years old, in the country.
Jim Langford, Executive Director of the Georgia Meth Project spoke passionately about the effects of Meth and how we as a community can help fight against it in our community. Meth is a highly addictive synthetic stimulant that affects the pleasure centers of the brain, leading to an almost instant addiction. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Atlanta area is a strategic hub for Meth and the I-85 transportation corridor makes Northeast Georgia communities especially vulnerable. It was very clear to all involved in the dialogue that this is not a problem in someone else’s community, but one right here at home.
Since its founding in 2010, The Georgia Meth Project has been focused on channeling an aggressive education and awareness campaign towards teens, parents, and adults across Georgia about the dangers of Meth use. They have aired a powerful television commercial campaign and are now focused on delivering prevention messages via online media channels that prove most effective in reaching teens ages 12-17. Georgia Meth has also developed an effective curriculum that teachers can easily download for use directly in the classroom.
Langford was sure to stress that Meth use is not just a health issue affecting teens. It’s a corporate and economic development issue too that greatly impacts employers via workplace attendance, turnover, productivity and performance. It has costly effects on insurance claims and premiums. Because it is virtually impossible for a Meth users to ever recover from their addiction, this has real ramifications in the workforce today and for generations to come. Understanding the significance of the mission of the Georgia Meth Project to the well-being of our community, Scott Phelan, Chairman of the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia’s Professional Advisors Committee, presented Jim Langford with a $5,000 check to help further their work. Phelan shared, “It is so important that we support this effort of educating and activating community members to help fight against the use of Meth.
We are pleased to be able to issue this grant and are grateful to the Georgia Meth Project for the direct impact you have had on our community and will continue to have in the years ahead.” The Foundation urges everyone to learn more at www.GeorgiaMethProject.org.