AUBURN, CALIF. — Placer County is joining many other local, state and federal agencies to designate Nov. 30 as National Methamphetamine Awareness Day. The purpose of the day is to call attention to the damaging effects this illegal drug has on individuals, families, friends and the community.

“Methamphetamine not only impacts those who use it, the family, friends and the community that surrounds the individual,” said Dr. Richard Burton, Placer County Health Officer. “Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive drugs that exists and is the No. 1 drug of abuse by those entering treatment.”

Placer County is developing a program to help raise awareness of addiction to methamphetamine. Part of raising that awareness is to show the harm the addiction causes and the costs it exacts from the community. Some of the increased costs include the need for additional law enforcement to deal with drug production and distribution and the crimes committed by addicts needing money to fuel their habits, as well as increased medical, social and legal costs. Treatment, also an additional cost, can reduce the overall cost if persons are able to achieve recovery from their addiction.

“It’s the fastest growing drug of abuse in all of our neighborhoods,” said Ed Bonner, Placer County Sheriff. “It’s easy to make, it’s cheap, it’s available, it’s odorless and tasteless. It can be smoked and there’s no odor. It can also be snorted, ingested or injected.”

The toll methamphetamine takes on families in Placer County is staggering. Of all the child abuse in Placer County, 85 percent to 90 percent is from drug abuse by parents. And methamphetamine is responsible for 60 percent of that abuse.

According to Dr. Burton about 4 percent of the teens in Placer County have used methamphetamine. That translates to about 600 kids. That figure becomes even more troubling when that statistic is paired with the fact that 73 percent of those in drug treatment for methamphetamine began using the drug prior to age 22. 

The Placer County Board of Supervisors, Department of Health and Human Services and Sheriffs Department are all working together to address the disease and the impact it has on those affected by use of the drug. Community awareness, education and resource information are some strategies to address this issue.

*Placer County