Women’s Fund Forum: ‘Drugs – Stealing Our Community’s Future’

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The before-and-after photos of methamphetamine addicts were nearly as jarring as the Shasta County drug-use statistics presented at the Wednesday Women’s Fund Community Forum held at the Redding Library.

Before-and-after photos of methamphetamine use. (From "Faces of Meth")

The forum topic – “Drugs: Stealing Our Community’s Future” – was presented to a standing-room-only lunch-time crowd. The audience heard a panel comprised of Lt. Jeff Wallace of the Redding Police Department; Elsbeth Prigmore, principal of Pioneer Continuation High School and Plus High School; Pam Ikuta, Mercy Medical Center emergency room physician; Cindy Diezsi, Shasta County Chemical People, Inc., program manager; Cara Beatty, Shasta County Superior Court judge; and Kareen Williams, a former methamphetamine addict.

About those statistics, compiled by Shasta County Public Health:

  • Shasta County had the second highest rate of perinatal alcohol and drug use of all 58 counties from 2006 to 2008. That’s four times higher than the state rate.
  • Since 1999, Shasta County’s drug-related death rate has been higher than the state rate, and its numbers continue to rise. Between 2007 to 2009 Shasta County residents died of drug-related causes at a rate almost three times higher than the rest of the state.
  • From 2007 to 2009, Shasta County saw 173 drug-induced deaths; 39 percent were women.
  • In 2010, more than 230 Shasta County children were victims of substance-abuse related child abuse.

The Women’s Fund provided $5 sack lunches for those who wished to eat during the event.

With a noon-to-1:30 p.m. deadline, each speaker conformed to a strict 10-minute presentation. A question-and-answer session followed the panel’s remarks.

Lt. Wallace, who arrived armed with his own statistics and photos (see before-and-after mug shots, above), spoke first. He talked about the toll drug abuse takes on users, and how Shasta County once had the dubious distinction of leading the nation in meth use. He said Shasta County has two-and-a-half times the rate of drug overdoses than the state average.

He said that Redding – renowned as a “sanctuary city” for marijuana users – has 17 medical marijuana collectives, with a combined 40,000 members. “That’s out of a city of 90,000,” he added.

Wallace said that the levels of THC – marijuana’s active ingredient – went from between 1 to 4 percent in the 1960s, to today’s THC levels of between 10 and even 30 percent. He said he sees marijuana as a gateway drug to more dangerous substances, such as methamphetamine.

Wallace was followed by Elsbeth Prigmore, Pioneer Continuation High School principal, who said that the numbers of drug-related student suspensions have escalated in Shasta County schools, as have the levels of confiscations of both prescription and illegal drugs.

She addressed a dozen risk factors that can predispose youth to drug-use:
  • Family history of alcoholism
  • Family history of criminality or anti-social behavior
  • Family management problems
  • Early anti-social behavior and hyperactivity
  • Parental drug use and positive attitudes toward drug use
  • Academic failure in mid- to late elementary school
  • Little commitment to school
  • Alienation, rebelliousness and lack of social bonding
  • Antisocial behavior in early adolescence
  • Friends who use drugs
  • Favorable attitudes toward drugs
  • Early first use of drugs

She showed slides of brain scans, both with and without drug effects, and the physical damage to the brain caused by drugs. Prigmore said that parents and teachers have an obligation to educate youth about how their brains work, and to provide information about the potential damage drugs can inflict upon brains.

Next came emergency room physician Pam Ikuta, who also brought images of drug-user’s brains, pointing out that even in the brain of someone who’d not used cocaine for 100 days, the negative effects remained. She provided an overview of the physiology of addiction, and said that addictions can develop despite a person’s best intentions and despite strength of character.

She talked about American society, where there’s a drug for nearly anything, from extreme sadness to excess happiness. Ikuta provided a laundry list of prescription drug examples: opiodis (Vicodin, Oxycontin, Heroin), sedatives (Valium, Xanax, Ativan), stimulants (Ritalin, Concerta, meth and nicotine), erectile dysfunction drugs (Viagra, Cialis, Levitra), anabolic steroids, inhalants (cooking spray, paint, glue, nitrous), hallucinogens (Ecstasy, PCP, LSD), and designer drugs (even found in some special bath salts, Ikuta said).

Ikuta said that over a 5-year period, drug-related emergency room visits have increased 81 percent. She said that while marijuana has legitimate uses, such as to increase cancer patients’ appetites, when it comes to recreational use of marijuana, the negative considerations include a five-fold increased risk of a heart attack, and more than 50 percent more carcinogens present in marijuana than tobacco smoke.

Cindy Diezsi spoke next. She’s the program manager for the Chemical People, Inc., a non-profit organization whose primary goal is to work with youth to prevent drug use. Diezsi opened her remarks by introducing a children’s book, “It’s Just a Plant” that downplays marijuana use. She gave an overview of the laws that have led to the “normalization” of marijuana use. She told of youth who go “medicine cabinet shopping” in their homes or the homes of friends and relatives, and  of “pharm parties” where young people bring a collection of prescription drugs to sample.

Diezsi said there’s a prevailing mind-set about prescription drugs that “if they’re prescribed by a doctor, they must be good.”

She offered suggestions, such as teaching youth “resistance skills” and to properly dispose of prescription drugs (not in the toilet, because it gets into waterways).

Judge Cara Beatty was the next presenter, and she added more to the meth users’ before-and-after meth photos, which dramatically illustrated how appearances of those who use meth can deteriorate drastically, sometimes even over a few months.

Beatty told how she’d started her legal career in Humboldt County, “the marijuana-growing capitol of the world,” a place where Beatty said many marijuana growers rationalized a worthy trade-off to spend about 16 months in jail if it meant earning about $1 million in marijuana production and sales.

As a judge, Beatty said she sees family cycles, where the children of drug-using parents and grandparents also turn to drugs. Beatty said she’s also seen successes achieved in helping drug-users, such as via churches, mentors, families, friends, guardians, and organized resources like Peer Court, Kids Turn (for children of divorced or separated parents) and the Addicted Offender Program.

Beatty urged the audience to combine resources, become educated about drug-use, to suspend judgemental-ism, and to consider giving a hand to former drug users by offering them work.

The afternoon’s final speaker was Kareen Williams, a former meth addict. Williams started by giving thanks to God for helping her go from drug use to a clean life. She described her back story as someone adopted by well-adjusted, loving parents – a highway patrol father and a stay-at-home mother. She said she discovered meth in her mid-teens and didn’t get completely off drugs for a few decades. But in the meantime she was in and out of jail, and turned to prostitution to pay for her habit, served three prison terms, and eventually lost custody of her child.

Williams spoke of her former love of meth, and how effortlessly she relied upon it. “Break a nail, get high.”

Williams said she entered the Addicted Offender Program in 2008 at a time when she realized, “Only one thing had to change: Everything.” She traded her old acronym for the word ‘fear’ (f— everything and run), for a new one: face everything and recover.

She told the audience that if she could ask them to change one thing, it would be for people to withhold judgement.  Her talk was received with a standing ovation.

The forum concluded with audience questions and panelists’ answers.  A sample included:

Someone asked Dr. Ikuta to name some non-narcotic pain relievers, to which the doctor replied that there are many, such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and even meditation and yoga.

Lt. Wallace was asked what it was about Shasta County that it had such dire drug-use numbers. He replied that the most simple answer could be found in the rural, secluded areas, and its depressed economy, but beyond that, he wasn’t sure.

Another woman asked Lt. Wallace about the prescription-drug drop-off boxes around Redding that were not in use because there were no police to empty the boxes and dispose of the drugs. Wallace said that it was a matter of a lack of funding and enough officers to monitor the boxes.

This reporter asked Lt. Wallace about the 40,000 members of Redding’s 17 marijuana collectives, and if there was any way to determine whether they were all from Redding, or elsewhere. He said it’s possible members could come from cities outside Redding. To the follow-up question, he said members are not allowed to have dual-collective memberships.

The final question of the day was posed by a mother of an adolescent, concerned about her child’s future. She asked Williams what parents could do to help their children avoid drug abuse. Williams conceded that, as a teenager, she had fallen in with the wrong crowd of kids, but that ultimately, she made the choice to use drugs. Even so, Williams said that there was no easy answer, because sometimes, even when a child is raised in a good home by a loving family – like hers – in the end it all comes down to that young person’s decision.

“You can’t overprotect,” she said. “There’s only so much you can do.”

———–

“Faces of Meth” photos are originally from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon.

Forum photos courtesy of  The Women’s Fund Facebook page. The Women’s Fund is a program of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation. Click here to read about the January forum, about foster care in Shasta County.

Independent online journalist Doni Greenberg founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Greenberg was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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20 Responses

  1. Avatar Canda says:

    Doni, Thanks for such an informative article. As heartbreaking as it is to hear the local statistics, and see such dramatic photos, we all need to educate ourselves about the drug problems here in our area. Most of us have been touched by friends or family who use drugs, and the feeling of helplessness is overwhelming. As Kareen said, it all comes down to that young person's decision. What a scary topic for parents and grandparents. I hope former drug users will continue to educate our young people about making healthy life choices.

    • Avatar Chris Solberg says:

      Lt. Wallace, who arrived armed with his own statistics and photos (see before-and-after mug shots, above), spoke first.

      He said that Redding – renowned as a "sanctuary city" for marijuana users – has 17 medical marijuana collectives, with a combined 40,000 members. "That's out of a city of 90,000," he added.

      The danger local Redding authorities have put our cut to the bone Police Dept. from out of town and out of state as well as out of the country gang members is an Abomination.

  2. Avatar O. B. Server, Canada says:

    Doni, Thanks for such an propagandistic article!

    Sentence-By-Sentence Analysis

    (3) (From "Faces of Meth") The forum topic – "Drugs: Stealing Our Community's Future" – was presented to a standing-room-only lunch-time crowd .

    re: "Faces of Meth" – Some politicians are puppets, spokesmen of their bosses. Some are the cavalier jugglers of words, who transfer human aggressions into slogans. There are also the loudmouthed trumpeters of doom, who resort to the argument of panic. Modern politics is carried out with obsolete rules of conversation, communication, and discussion; and too few politicians are aware of the semantic pitfalls and emotional dishonesties of the word tools they must use to convince others. [Joost A. M. Meerloo, "Rape of the Mind", ch.13, http://drugpolicycentral.com/bot/rotm/13.htm#slog

    re: "Community" – Because of prohibition (prohibitionists assure us), society is protected: the community is safe, and the nation is saved. (Survival of Society (propaganda theme 3) )

    (5) Jeff Wallace of the Redding Police Department; Elsbeth Prigmore, principal of Pioneer Continuation High School and Plus High School; Pam Ikuta, Mercy Medical Center emergency room physician; Cindy Diezsi, Shasta County Chemical People, Inc., program manager; Cara Beatty, Shasta County Superior Court judge; and Kareen Williams, a former methamphetamine addict .

    re: "addict" – Prohibitionists try to link targeted drugs with people already accepted as hated. (Hated Groups (propaganda theme 1) )

    (6) About those statistics, compiled by Shasta County Public Health: * Shasta County had the second highest rate of perinatal alcohol and drug use of all 58 counties from 2006 to 2008 .

    re: "drug use", "alcohol and drug use" – Prohibition propaganda claims that all use of any "drug" is abuse. (Use is Abuse (propaganda theme 4) )

    (7) That's four times higher than the state rate. * Since 1999, Shasta County's drug-related death rate has been higher than the state rate, and its numbers continue to rise .

    re: "death" – Prohibitionists claim use of currently illegal drugs causes crime, death, illness, lunacy, mania, melancholy, and all means of sin and degradation. (Madness Crime Violence Illness (propaganda theme 2) )

    (8) Between 2007 to 2009 Shasta County residents died of drug-related causes at a rate almost three times higher than the rest of the state. * From 2007 to 2009, Shasta County saw 173 drug-induced deaths; 39 percent were women. * In 2010, more than 230 Shasta County children were victims of substance-abuse related child abuse .

    re: "deaths" – Prohibition propaganda rarely misses an opportunity to link crime, violence, and insanity with "drugs". The propagandist insinuates that prohibited drugs cause evil, and if it weren't for "drugs" bad things would not exist. (Madness Crime Violence Illness (propaganda theme 2) ) re: "substance-abuse", "abuse" – "This strategy equates the use and abuse of drugs and implies that it is impossible to use the particular drug or drugs in question without physical, mental, and moral deterioration." [W.White,1979] (Use is Abuse (propaganda theme 4) ) re: "child", "children" – "Chemicals have long been inextricably linked in prohibitionist literature with the … corruption of young people." [W.White,1979] (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (14) He talked about the toll drug abuse takes on users, and how Shasta County once had the dubious distinction of leading the nation in meth use .

    re: "drug abuse", "abuse" – The rhetoric of prohibition will assume that "use" and "abuse" are identical. (Use is Abuse (propaganda theme 4) )

    (15) He said Shasta County has two-and-a-half times the rate of drug overdoses than the state average .

    re: "drug overdoses", "overdoses" – It is prohibition, claim prohibitionists, that saves people from drug crazed, whacked out, high flying drug users. (Madness Crime Violence Illness (propaganda theme 2) )

    (16) He said that Redding – renowned as a "sanctuary city" for marijuana users – has 17 medical marijuana collectives, with a combined 40,000 members .

    re: "marijuana users" – Any use of an illegal drug is deemed to be "abuse," weasels the propaganda of prohibition. (After all – it is illegal!) (Use is Abuse (propaganda theme 4) )

    (19) He said he sees marijuana as a gateway drug to more dangerous substances, such as methamphetamine .

    re: "dangerous" – Drugs, claim the prohibitionist, cause insanity, violence, and terrible sickness. (Madness Crime Violence Illness (propaganda theme 2) ) re: "gateway drug", "gateway" – Prohibition propaganda is rich with claims targeted drugs 'lead to' something even more frightful. (Use is Abuse, Gateway (propaganda theme 4) )

    (22) Prigmore said that parents and teachers have an obligation to educate youth about how their brains work, and to provide information about the potential damage drugs can inflict upon brains .

    re: "youth" – Prohibitionists play on parental fears by exaggerating the dangers to children of drugs. Adults must be jailed (reason prohibitionists), because kids might be corrupted with drugs. (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (23) Next came emergency room physician Pam Ikuta, who also brought images of drug-user's brains, pointing out that even in the brain of someone who'd not used cocaine for 100 days, the negative effects remained .

    re: "drug-user", "user" – The rhetoric of prohibition will try to use labeling and guilt by association to link drugs and drug users with hated groups. (Hated Groups (propaganda theme 1) )

    (24) She provided an overview of the physiology of addiction, and said that addictions can develop despite a person's best intentions and despite strength of character .

    re: "addiction", "addictions" – Drug war rhetoric asserts jailing addicts curbs addiction.

    re: – Prohibitionist propaganda claims that horrible dangers are caused by "drugs." (Madness Crime Violence Illness (propaganda theme 2) )

    (25) She talked about American society, where there's a drug for nearly anything, from extreme sadness to excess happiness .

    re: "society", "American" – The health of the "community" (read: government) is assured, prohibitionists explain, because drug users are punished. Jailing drug users is thus painted as upholding society. (Survival of Society (propaganda theme 3) )

    (27) Ikuta said that over a 5-year period, drug-related emergency room visits have increased 81 percent .

    re: "emergency room visits" – Drugs, the prohibitionist explains, are a wicked bane on modern man. Why if not for the noble drug war (i.e. jailing drug users), exclaims the propagandist, then people will run amok, and violence, death, psychosis, and plague shall cover the land. (Madness Crime Violence Illness (propaganda theme 2) )

    (28) She said that while marijuana has legitimate uses, such as to increase cancer patients' appetites, when it comes to recreational use of marijuana, the negative considerations include a five-fold increased risk of a heart attack, and more than 50 percent more carcinogens present in marijuana than tobacco smoke .

    re: "heart attack", "cancer" – The rhetoric of prohibition asserts that insanity, crime, and violence are caused by drugs, or are controlled by prohibition. (Madness Crime Violence Illness (propaganda theme 2) )

    (30) She's the program manager for the Chemical People, Inc., a non-profit organization whose primary goal is to work with youth to prevent drug use .

    re: "drug use" – Abusus non tollit usum. (Abuse is no argument against proper use.) — Latin proverb (Use is Abuse (propaganda theme 4) ) re: "youth" – "Nothing can so excite an adult population as can anything which appears to threaten their own children." [W.White,1979] (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (31) Diezsi opened her remarks by introducing a children's book, "It's Just a Plant" that downplays marijuana use .

    re: "marijuana use" – Prohibitionists try to hammer in the idea that 'all use is abuse.' The rhetoric of prohibition needs to deny that many people can use currently illegal drugs without abusing them. (Use is Abuse (propaganda theme 4) ) re: "children" – Prohibitionists are champions of "the child", "kids", "children", etc. Only continued or increased punishments of all adults caught using "drugs" will send the correct "message" to children. (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (32) She gave an overview of the laws that have led to the "normalization" of marijuana use .

    re: "marijuana use" – Prohibitionist propagandists repeatedly assert that "use is abuse." Details about "using" as opposed to "abusing" drugs are ignored. (Use is Abuse (propaganda theme 4) )

    (33) She told of youth who go "medicine cabinet shopping" in their homes or the homes of friends and relatives, and of "pharm parties" where young people bring a collection of prescription drugs to sample .

    re: "youth", "young people" – Prohibitionist propaganda continually whips up parental fear, invoking lurid images of children corrupted by drugs. (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (35) She offered suggestions, such as teaching youth "resistance skills" and to properly dispose of prescription drugs (not in the toilet, because it gets into waterways) .

    re: "youth" – Being a prohibitionist means you can never shed too many crocodile tears for the "children". (As you lustily jail or kill their parents for using drugs.) (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (38) As a judge, Beatty said she sees family cycles, where the children of drug-using parents and grandparents also turn to drugs .

    re: "drug-using" – Drug war propaganda insinuates drugs are evil, because they are linked with hated groups. (Hated Groups (propaganda theme 1) ) re: "children" – Drug war propaganda plays on parental fears for the well being of their kids. If drug users are not jailed, says the prohibitionist, then your children will surely suffer. (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (39) Beatty said she's also seen successes achieved in helping drug-users, such as via churches, mentors, families, friends, guardians, and organized resources like Peer Court, Kids Turn (for children of divorced or separated parents) and the Addicted Offender Program .

    re: "drug-users", "users" – Prohibition propaganda often uses crude forms of name-calling to link a targeted drug with groups the majority dislikes. (Hated Groups (propaganda theme 1) ) re: "Addicted" – Prohibition propaganda claims addiction is controlled by prohibition.

    re: – The rhetoric of prohibition asserts that insanity, crime, and violence are caused by drugs, or are controlled by prohibition. (Madness Crime Violence Illness (propaganda theme 2) ) re: "children", "Kids" – Prohibitionists forever claim that children are corrupted by drugs, and this is why adult users must be punished harshly. (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (40) Beatty urged the audience to combine resources, become educated about drug-use, to suspend judgemental-ism, and to consider giving a hand to former drug users by offering them work .

    re: "drug users", "users" – Prohibition rhetoric often attempts to associate hated groups with targeted drugs. (Hated Groups (propaganda theme 1) ) re: "drug users" – Prohibitionists try to hammer in the idea that 'all use is abuse.' The rhetoric of prohibition needs to deny that many people can use currently illegal drugs without abusing them. (Use is Abuse (propaganda theme 4) )

    (41) The afternoon's final speaker was Kareen Williams, a former meth addict .

    re: "addict" – Drug users are "those people" — they are linked with groups that everyone agrees are bad. (Hated Groups (propaganda theme 1) )

    (42) Williams started by giving thanks to God for helping her go from drug use to a clean life .

    re: "drug use" – Prohibitionists try to hammer in the idea that 'all use is abuse.' The rhetoric of prohibition needs to deny that many people can use currently illegal drugs without abusing them. (Use is Abuse (propaganda theme 4) )

    (44) She said she discovered meth in her mid-teens and didn't get completely off drugs for a few decades .

    re: "teens" – "The inflaming of this fear about the fate of our own children [makes] it difficult if not impossible for most Americans to take a careful and reasoned look at our drug policies."[W.White,1979] (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (45) But in the meantime she was in and out of jail, and turned to prostitution to pay for her habit, served three prison terms, and eventually lost custody of her child .

    re: "child", "prostitution" – "Since the Harrison Act of 1914, the user and the seller of illicit drugs have both been characterized as evil, criminal, insane, and always in search of new victims, the victims are characterized as young children." [W.White,1979] (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (48) Williams said she entered the Addicted Offender Program in 2008 at a time when she realized, "Only one thing had to change: Everything."

    re: "Addicted" – Prohibition propaganda claims addiction is controlled by prohibition.

    re: – Drugs, scream prohibitionists, cause all bad things in life: crime, violence, insanity, etc. If not for prohibition (i.e., jailing drug users), then criminality, violence and psychotic behavior would explode upon the land, the prohibitionist assures us. (Madness Crime Violence Illness (propaganda theme 2) )

    (65) The final question of the day was posed by a mother of an adolescent, concerned about her child's future .

    re: "child" – "The inflaming of this fear about the fate of our own children [makes] it difficult if not impossible for most Americans to take a careful and reasoned look at our drug policies."[W.White,1979] (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (66) She asked Williams what parents could do to help their children avoid drug abuse .

    re: "drug abuse", "abuse" – Abusus non tollit usum. (Abuse is no argument against proper use.) — Latin proverb (Use is Abuse (propaganda theme 4) ) re: "children" – "Since the Harrison Act of 1914, the user and the seller of illicit drugs have both been characterized as evil, criminal, insane, and always in search of new victims, the victims are characterized as young children." [W.White,1979] (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (67) Williams conceded that, as a teenager, she had fallen in with the wrong crowd of kids, but that ultimately, she made the choice to use drugs .

    re: "teenager", "kids" – "Chemicals have long been inextricably linked in prohibitionist literature with the … corruption of young people." [W.White,1979] (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (68) Even so, Williams said that there was no easy answer, because sometimes, even when a child is raised in a good home by a loving family – like hers – in the end it all comes down to that young person's decision .

    re: "child" – Being a prohibitionist means you can never shed too many crocodile tears for the "children". (As you lustily jail or kill their parents for using drugs.) (Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5) )

    (71) "Faces of Meth" photos are originally from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in Oregon .

    re: "Faces of Meth" – Propagandists use slogans and public relations campaigns to advance their agenda in the War on Drugs. [http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=War_on_Drugs]

    • Avatar Michelle says:

      Geez, have some time on your hands?

    • Avatar Sara says:

      This is is the most convoluded thing I have read in a long time. Your point was lost. I have some general sense that you are unhappy with how society frames the idea of drug abuse and its effects… but that's it. Go back to the drawing board when you are less emotional, heavily edit this, then summarize, and THEN maybe you can start a productive discussion.

      • Avatar Sara says:

        Just for clarification, I was referring to the OB Server rant, not Doni's article, of course.

  3. Avatar Chris Solberg says:

    Does this mean an end to the pro Marijuana articles from Dugan Barr here on this site?

    • Why would one story impact future opinon pieces?

      Chris, we strive to present a balanced news site that offers a variety of voices, view points and stories.

      We do publish opposing opinions here, and when that happens, we at aNewsCafe.com welcome readers' thoughtful and civilized comments – even as they disagree – and are delighted when they have the courage and conviction to sign their real names, as you do.

      See you online. 🙂

  4. Avatar Blilbonia says:

    Great coverage, thanks!

  5. Avatar faroloaway says:

    40,000 members? Surely someone misplaced a decimal…

  6. Avatar Mary says:

    It was a great forum. Via your write-ups, more people will be informed about the Women's Fund and its timely topics. Thank you very much. ~Mary

  7. Avatar Lisa Shive says:

    So sad to see how quickly meth destroys people

  8. Avatar Matthew Meyer says:

    Yes, there was clearly some propaganda going on at this meeting. (On cannabis and cancer, Google "tashkin ucla marijuana cancer" and you may be surprised at what you find.)

    The gateway myth, the bizarre "five times more likely to have a heart attack" business.

    OK.

    Over at the R-S, interestingly, the whole article focused on the Redding cop's numbers about dispensaries. Stories about pot are selling papers now.

    But despite all the propaganda, these people are pointing at serious problems involving various psychoactive substances in this area. Stuff's messed up, in other words.

    And yet the "legit" local paper just plays it for a reaction.

    Doni's article, while not critical enough of the presenters, at least makes it clear that the whole meeting wasn't just about the number of pot dispensaries in Redding.

  9. Avatar Caelia Shortface says:

    "Lt. Wallace, who arrived armed with his own statistics"

    Emphasis should be placed on "his own" — there are only 48 people in Shasta County with an actual medical marijuana card.

  10. Avatar Sue says:

    I had to miss the meeting. Thanks for the excellent article. This is a serious problem that affects our whole community. Those who deny the problem, it seems to me, are not facing the reality of the situation.

    Sue

  11. Avatar Mel says:

    I am a product of drug addicted parents and was raised in Redding, this article hit my heart. Growing up was hard, I resisted meth, because of my personality and because I saw first hand it's torment on my family growing up. It kills me to go back home and see the cycle of abuse (gradparents, parents, child, grandchild) continue on and on. Meth kills no doubt and in my opinion meth is for the hopeless, those who are scared to step out into the world and have a productive life. Meth is their co-out for taking control over their lives and becoming productive citizens of society. I don't have any answers, this problem is deep, but it's the cycle of abuse that somehow needs to stop!!!!