Outspoken student’s recovery is an inspiration to others
In this issue, 17-year-old Jeanine Atherton talks candidly about her battle with methamphetamine addiction. The Park City High School student recently received a scholarship from the organization Taxis Against Dunk Driving (TADD) for her courageous battle to turn her life around. Our hope is that sharing her story will make residents more aware of the increasing availability of the drug in our community and will help others recognize its dangers.
According to Atherton, the drug is readily available in the Park City area and her claim is supported by Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds, who confirms that methamphetamine arrests are on the rise in Summit County.
The drug is insidiously addictive and, Edmunds says, usage crosses all socio-economic classes.
And it is not just a "Park City" problem. Edmunds says there are indications that meth usage is even more prevalent on the east side of the county in places like Kamas and Coalville. Recently, he says, a North Summit High School student who was high on meth had to be removed from the campus because he became combative.
So, this month, as communities around the country celebrate the accomplishments of their graduates, we are pleased to note that this community rewards, not just straight As, but also one student’s brave and honest stand against a powerful drug. Her openness and TADD’s willingness to reward that effort may save lives.
A few years ago several local organizations banded together in a campaign dubbed "The Majority Report." The intention was to help school-aged kids to resist peer group pressure by emphasizing that most kids do not do drugs. The goal was an admirable one, but there were some, at the time, who suggested the campaign was naïve and that it downplayed a very real problem.
The problem hasn’t gone away and there are indications that it is growing.
Methamphetamine is available in Summit County not just in the nightclubs but also in the schools and rural areas.
Awareness of that fact, and how devastating meth can be to one of our own young students is an important step toward protecting ourselves and our families from falling under its spell.
But in sharing her story, Atherton has also offered us hope that it can be overcome.
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“Just driving around, I’ve lost count of all the dead trees on city property, commercial property and private property. Why aren’t these trees tagged for removal?” writes Diane Thompson.