In the six-day series “Generation Meth” last week, reporters Dennis Romboy and Lucinda Dillon Kinkead of Salt Lake City’s Deseret Morning News presented a comprehensive view into the lives of a growing number of young people in Utah – mostly young women – who are meth addicts, the newspaper says in an editorial. The series reported that methamphetamine use in Utah is overwhelming law enforcement, child welfare agencies, and drug-abuse treatment centers. On a personal level, it is destroying the lives of users and the lives of their children. The paper says the “solution lies in more resources for all segments of society touched by this problem and a collaborative approach to prevention, treatment, law enforcement and drug interdiction.”
The editorial says that public substance-abuse treatment centers need more beds, particularly the programs that strive to keep children with their mothers. The Division of Child and Family Services needs more resources to help children who are abused and neglected because their parents are addicts. The division needs more services for these children as well as the adults who shelter and foster them until permanent placements can be arranged. Law enforcement needs more money for drug interdiction efforts as well as the latest equipment to help protect public safety workers to bust and take down meth labs. Drug courts need to be expanded; substance abuse agencies need more money for prevention efforts. The issues posed by the meth generation are unlike other problems the Utah Legislature face because they impact so many aspects of society from cradle to grave. The horrors of methamphetamine addiction do not confine themselves to the user. Lawmakers must address meth across the board.