Meth mayhem has not reached catastrophic proportions in the Cooks yet, but it is here – and police and health professionals say a drug crisis is on its way.
Methamphetamine is a white, odourless powder that is taken orally, by inhaling through the nose, by injection, or by smoking. It is highly addictive and chronic use alters the function of the brain, impairing motor and verbal skills.
In addition to the initial euphoria, it produces highly erratic and unpredictable behaviours such as paranoia, hallucinations, delusions and violent actions – conditions doctors define as amphetamine psychosis. When users overdose, they can suffer seizures, heart attacks or strokes, with sometimes lethal consequences.
For some people, the war on meth is really a war of words.
And sure enough, there have been a lot of words uttered about this scourge, a lot of warnings and damnations.
Politicians and law enforcement talk about it all the time; former law enforcement officers in Rarotonga have spoken out, in the past week (see Norman George, p4).
For a lot of people, that’s all the battle against meth is. They see it as a problem faced by other people, in other places. It’s an issue that doesn’t impact them personally or directly – or so they believe.
In fact, meth impacts all of us and this has become a terrible reality in the Cook Islands.
So today Cook Islands News is launching an investigative campaign dubbed The Meth Menace.
Along with articles and opinion pieces exposing the problem, we’re assembling a leadership group to ensure we’re part of the solution, advising and informing our journalists and our readers on all aspects of the meth problem.
Because this is far more than a law and order problem: it’s an important health and social challenge. So this group will include community leaders representing law enforcement, youth, church and social responders such as counsellors and medics.
In future issues of this newspaper, recovering meth users and addicts will reveal their stories explaining how they got clean, to offer hope to other users and their families.
And I am one of those recovering users.
Our aim is to look at all aspects of the meth problem with the overarching objective of providing answers.
By John Woods,
CI News publisher