Llano Alliance for Drug Intervention along with the San Saba Police Department hosted a presentation, Tuesday Sept. 16, about the growing meth problem in Llano and the surrounding counties.
A large group of locals met in the Llano High School Auditorium to listen to San Saba Police Officer Allen Brown and his partner Dwayne Shaw, present “Eyes Wide Shut.” The point of the presentation is to raise awareness, educate the community about drugs and paraphernalia, and how to work with law enforcement in the fight against drugs.
“We believe that the key to successful fighting with drugs is forming a chain,” said Officer Brown. He emphasized that if each link of the chain, the churches, families, schools and law enforcement, pull together and support each other the chain is hard to break.
“If we’re all on the same page, we present a stronger front,” said Officer Brown. “We have to stop blaming and start working. We have to open our eyes and the first thing we have to do is educate.”
Officer Brown started the presentation talking about the No. 1 killer drug in America – Alcohol.
“Ninety percent of our job is alcohol or drug related,” said Officer Brown.
“That’s why we need to educate the people around. If they’re (the bad guys) not messing with your family – it doesn’t concern you. That’s NOT true; it will only be a matter of time before they get to your family.”
Officer Brown went on to talk about starter drugs, which all begins with tobacco. The next step is alcohol.
“The average age is 10 to 12 years of age, when kids start drinking,” said Officer Brown.
He proceeded to tell about how kids are mixing Germ X in Sprite to get drunk at school. He said that Germ X is 90 percent proof alcohol, if a person were to place a small amount under his or her tongue, they would fail the sobriety test.
The next step is marijuana, then after that, heroin.
“They started somewhere and kept progressing until they went too far,”said Officer Brown.
The next and final step is methamphetamines, or a.k.a. death.
Officer Brown proceeded to show pictures of different meth labs mostly local, pointing out items used to make the drug. He also had visuals on stage of all the chemicals used to make meth, all of which are poisonous if ingested alone.
He talked about the biggest tool used in a meth lab, the hydro-chlorine generator. This item is manufactured out of a plastic bottle, duct tape and some type of tubing. Its purpose is to cause the drug to layer and break down.
Meth is cooked in stages, which makes it easy to make in different areas. Officer Brown showed pictures of a portable meth lab or what he likes to call “a bomb on wheels.”
He talked about how to detect a meth lab that might be nearby. Meth has a distinct smell, “like ammonia, but makes the hair on your arm stand on end – you know something’s wrong.”
What probably hit the audience hard was when Officer Brown talked about dumping sites for meth. He showed pictures of meth dumps in the “back woods” of someone’s property.
“It will cost you $25,000 to $75,000 to clean it up,” said Officer Brown. “Be nosey, ask questions. Make friends with your game wardens, troopers and sheriff’s department, let them know you like them coming around.”
He added that to clean up a meth dump or a meth lab costs everybody in tax dollars.
“They could throw this stuff over your fence and you’re still libel,” said Officer Brown. “You’ve got to work with your police department; you’ve got to work with your sheriff’s department.”
He talked about where the police are supposed to stand in the community.
There is a thin line that goes between the community and the bad guys and it’s called the law.
The bad guys are itching to cross that line. If the police are far from that line because they don’t have support from the community then it will be easy for the bad guys to come into the community, but if the community supports the police and keeps the police next to that line they can keep the criminals from crossing into the community.
Officer Brown showed visuals of meth lab explosions, showing a picture of a burned man, burned so badly that he was literally burned black.
Meth lab explosions cause fires and can blow up a house and a car.
While showing these images he added, “We better start paying attention to what’s going on around us, we better start communicating with the police and sheriff’s department.”
The next thing he talked about was the physical signs of meth use. Pictures of arms with silver dollar sized flesh wounds that seemed to ooze. Officer Brown said that these wounds were self inflicted because the users of meth actually think they have bugs underneath their skin.
He told shocking stories about skin coming off people’s arms and people biting their own flesh off and spitting it on the ground.
“Once meth goes into the body,” said Officer Brown. “It never leaves.”
He also talked about the “Spock Effect.” This is usually seen in women who use meth. The skin gets pulled so tight on the face that the ears start to point at the top. He showed pictures of a repeat offender who was on meth over a ten year progression. She looked like a skull with skin pulled across it.
“We’ve got to talk to the little kids and kids in junior high, and we’ve got to get you educated because if you don’t know, we can’t make a change,” said Officer Brown.
He talked about the mental effects of meth and how these people have the ability to kill you. He also talked about how this drug can lead to other crimes such as stealing and prostitution.
Officer Brown then talked about an effect that hit the audience the hardest, the effect on children and how it leads to child abuse.
He showed a picture of a little girl who had been sold into a crack house by her mother in exchange for drugs. “What if this was your daughter?” Officer Brown asked. “What if it was your daughter that sold your grandchild for crack?”
He said that the average meth users are from ages 20 to 35 and that his youngest dealer was 12 years old and his oldest dealer was 62 years old.
“We’re at the first stages of this problem, this is a fight,” he said. A member of the audience reiterated his statement by saying, “All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”