Oklahoma leaders announced a statewide campaign against methamphetamine abuse Monday in Oklahoma City. The campaign, Crystal Darkness Oklahoma, will include a local element that will involve the Carter County Health Department, churches, schools, civic groups, law enforcement agencies and the media.


Oklahoma leaders announced a statewide campaign against methamphetamine abuse Monday in Oklahoma City. The campaign, Crystal Darkness Oklahoma, will include a local element that will involve the Carter County Health Department, churches, schools, civic groups, law enforcement agencies and the media.


The campaign is modeled after similar programs in Nevada, California, Oregon and Arizona. It is aimed at increasing meth awareness, as well as providing treatment and law enforcement assistance to communities — large and small — across Oklahoma.


According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, methamphetamine or meth is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant that can be injected, snorted, smoked or ingested orally. Meth users feel a short yet intense “rush” when the drug is initially administered. The immediate effects of meth include increased activity and decreased appetite. It has a high potential for abuse and addiction.


A 30-minute documentary will air on every Oklahoma television station at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 13 as part of the campaign.


The documentary will feature testimonials that graphically portray the devastating impact meth has had on families and communities. Call centers will be set up across the state during the documentary’s airing for viewers who think they or a loved one need help.


Oklahoma first lady Kim Henry and Wes Lane, president of the Burbridge Foundation and former Oklahoma County District Attorney, will co-chair the campaign.


“Oklahoma has made tremendous strides in fighting the epidemic of methamphetamine, but far too many families across our state still struggle with this powerful and deadly drug,” Henry said. “Crystal Darkness Oklahoma will highlight education, prevention, recovery and hope to let folks know that their life can get back on track.”


Lane said as a prosecutor he enjoyed watching families beat meth addiction and improve their lives.

 

"Crystal Darkness Oklahoma will prevent families from hitting rock bottom and also lift those up who have already reached that point,” Lane said. “In many cases, it’s simply a matter of reaching out to those in need and providing them with the tools to recover.”


The top listed drugs of choice for Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services clients in Oklahoma during fiscal year 2007 were: alcohol, 37.4 percent; methamphetamine, 19.9 percent; marijuana, 17.6 percent; and cocaine, 11.8 percent.
According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, although the number of working meth labs in the state has declined substantially, meth imported from Mexico continues to claim lives. Meth-related deaths in Oklahoma have steadily risen, averaging 49 per year over the past eight years.


More information about the local aspects of the campaign will be forthcoming. Additional information about Crystal Darkness Oklahoma is available at www.crystaldarknessoklahoma.org.


Steve Biehn, 221-6546
steve.biehn@ardmoreite.com