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Sampson County Meth Task Force
Meeting March 17 , 2006


The Sampson County Meth Task Force met on March 17, 2006 at Sampson Community College in the Warren Student Center Boardroom.

Chair, J.W. Simmons, called the meeting to order at 8:30 am .

Present: J.W. Simmons; Amber Cava; John Wengert; Mary Margaret Hobbs; Geraldine Shipp; Kellie Farrell; Dennis Newton; Ron Lessard; Ronald Bass; Teresa Underwood; Jenny Wood; Marvin Rondon; Kenneth Faison; Lois Britt; Wes Meyers; Gregory Jackson; Terry Miller; Resha Purcell; Andy Sturdy; Gary Connolly; and Janet Rosenberger

The minutes from the January 3, 2006 meeting were approved by the group with a motion from Mary Margaret Hobbs and seconded by John Wengert.


Review January 25 th Meth Summit :

J.W. informed the group that when the planning first started for the Summit , they didn't realize the extent of the expense. Star Telephone came through and helped with a large portion of the funding. J.W. reiterated that the event happened due to the collaboration of the entire group. Amber Cava added that the attendance was wonderful and more people came than was expected. Everyone seemed pleased with the event. She's had a lot of positive feedback. John Wengert stated that Ginny Evan's Catering had let him know the day of the Summit that she had additional food just in case it was needed. She ended up using all food including the surplus. There were 400 served that day. The speakers did a great job and kept it very interesting.

J.W. stated that the strategic points were hit and thanked Jenny Wood for having an actual recovering Meth addict to speak. It took a lot of courage for him to speak out and was the highlight of the event. Jenny added that Worth Bolton's presentation gave a perfect balance to Roy Cooper's.

Miscellaneous Discussion :

Dennis Newton introduced Kenneth Faison who is willing to volunteer his services for grant writing. Mr. Faison stated that he is one of the Board of Directors for Eastpointe. He was instrumental in writing the grant for the Butler Avenue Center . J.W. would like there to be a focus on a project for the community that the Task Force can back. Mr. Andy Sturdy stated that he can also work on grants. He worked with Tri County Community Health Center previously on grants. Almost all of his work is with groups of this nature. Jenny Wood added that, since Mental Health is divesting now, 4-H Clubs in Duplin-Sampson-Lenoir-Wayne are collaborating to shift block grant money for safe and drug free schools. There is a need to focus on the rural counties.

Mission Statement :

The Sampson County METH Task Force Mission Statement was passed out for review. Ron Lessard and Kellie Farrell both felt that it stated to the point what the Task Force is all about. Geraldine Shipp made a motion to accept the Mission Statement as written. Ron Lessard seconded the motion with complete support by the group. It will be added to the website.

The Mission of the Sampson County METH Task Force is to confront the Methamphetamine Crisis by providing intervention opportunities designed to prevent or break the cycle of drug abuse caused by those who manufacture, sell or use Methamphetamine.


J.W. stated that there are more efforts to get aggressive about the education regarding Meth. Teachers have a 30 hour renewal course they're required to take. The first portion is pertaining to Meth. It also teaches them about gangs and bullying. They are hoping to get more information into the classrooms. Stewart Hobbs has information he is reviewing presently. If they look at a full blown curriculum, it will take 2 years or more to get implemented. Information was passed out about MAMA (Mother's Against Meth-Amphetamine) which is a course that can be taken as part of an exiting class format. Dr. Holley's course came to light due to a personal experience. Dennis Newton asked if this course has a virtual reality program since that would appeal to kids because they enjoy hands-on interaction. J.W. stated that it is possibly something that could be checked into.

Website Review :

J.W. reminded the group to go to the website and review information. Offer suggestions for improving the website or for additions. Dennis Newton stated that he'd like to see a "Plan of Salvation", scriptures and a special prayer added. J.W. felt that there wouldn't be a problem with this.

J.W. passed out a handout of the Montana Meth Project . He stated that there is now a link to this on our website. He's had various groups request the use of the Meth Death website to add information they feel is pertinent. Any piece of literature, brochure etc. needs to continue to be added to help get the information out. The testimonial section of the site has been set up as anonymous so people will feel more comfortable adding information to it. It's set up in a way that directs the information to Sarah Bradshaw and J.W. so they can screen it for profanity. People can also access that section to post concerns.

Efforts in the Spanish Speaking Communities :

J.W. introduced Marvin Rondon, the Sampson County Community College "go to guy", who helps with translating. He also told the group that one page of the Meth website has been translated for the Hispanic community. Marvin informed the group that only about 10% of the Hispanic community has access to a computer and feels that flyers would be the best way to get the information out to them. J.W. added that Star Telephone would be willing to help again with the flyer project. Marvin stated that Sampson County has had a huge increase in the Hispanic population. A large portion of them can barely read and write and has an average 3 rd grade level education. J.W. added that he feels that some contractors encourage their workers they hire to use Meth to keep them working longer hours and working harder. Marvin continued that Meth is also a popular drug for parties in the Hispanic community.

Teresa Underwood pointed out that the Health Department could pass out any flyers to their Hispanic clientele. She also added that, according to the census records, there has been a 700% increase in the number of Hispanics residing in Sampson County . Greg Jackson asked if this included migrant workers and Teresa responded that it did not. Dennis Newton interjected that, in his experience in the past with trying to minister to the Hispanics, handing out flyers wouldn't help if they can't read them. Marvin added that they teach some classes to Hispanics using Power Point presentations and one could possibly be developed using pictures to help educate them on the dangers of Meth. Flyers could be done with pictures as well. Teresa added that the Health Department has a list of migrant camps and they have a good working relationship with the crew leaders. She's certain that they would allow flyers to be posted in common areas of the camps for getting information out to the workers. Also, most of the workers are men without families and there is probably a big drug problem among the camps. It would be a good starting point. Dennis Newton will contact Tri-County Community Health Center to try to recruit a representative from there to join the Task Force. J.W. suggested that anyone in the group with any ideas you have in relation to helping to target the Hispanic population needs to contact Marvin at 592-2031.

  Other Discussion :

Kellie Farrell stated that the SBI and other law enforcement are overwhelmed with calls due to the information that has been distributed to the community via flyers and the website. People don't understand that law enforcement can't approach someone just because they have received a tip about a possible Meth situation. They have certain procedures that they need to follow. She further stated that it will also take awhile for the pharmacies to completely start cooperating with the new law of documenting information when cold products containing pseudoephedrine are purchased. Because of the new North Carolina laws, people are heading to South Carolina to purchase ingredients needed in the manufacturing process.

Ron Lessard added that the Meth Task Force has scared the community with awareness and they're calling for everything, even when they see small quantities of products used to cook Meth. The key is for them to watch for volumes. Since the gels aren't covered in the new law, Meth cooks are experimenting with using this in their methods. The suits that law enforcement agents have to wear in their investigation into a suspected Meth home are very expensive and have to be disposed of after they've completed their processing. They've responded to 50 calls and found 6 meth labs. They are budgeted only a certain amount of funds for equipment etc. and when they're out of funds, they're out. Greg Jackson asked what a person should do if they get a tip about a suspected lab. J.W. responded that Kellie Farrell or Ron Lessard would be the contacts. Kellie shares an office at the Sheriff's Department. J.W. mentioned that law enforcement has to take required courses and a recent training cost approximately $20,000.

Amber Cava shared a Readers Digest article with the group about a divorced woman who was renting a portion of her home. She observed suspicious behavior with the renter and started taking notes and getting license plates of people frequently "visiting" the home, coming often and for short time periods. She notified law enforcement and they busted the renter for selling Meth.

J.W. noted to the group that Chris Berendt, a reporter with Sampson Independent, had done a tremendous job covering the Meth Summit. He felt that he should be commended for his work, especially since he spotlighted the story of the Meth addict who spoke at the Summit . He poled the group and asked for a motion to recognize him with a plaque to show the Task Force's appreciation. A motion was made by John Wengert and seconded by Amber Cava with unanimous support by the Task Force.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 am.