Programs work to keep Meth out of schools - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Programs work to keep Meth out of schools

Tennessee's war on methamphetamine moves into classrooms.

Far from a "just say no" campaign, the anti-meth message will become part of the three Rs in middle schools and high schools:

How close can meth labs get to schools?  How about right next door.

One was busted next to Wells Station Elementary in 2003.  Troy Fleetwood is now serving 11 years for being a meth manufacturer.

"There is a new battle in the war on drugs and that new battle is called methamphetamine," said Dr. Cedrick Gray or Craigmont Middle School.

Gray, principal of Craigmont Middle, welcomes the new "Meth Destroys" curriculum developed by the Tennessee Department of Education.

It incorporates meth education into the everyday learning of math, science and more:

"When you talk about social studies, we talk about the economic affect a methamphetamine user has on society," said Gray.

Students will write essays about recovering meth users such as Anne Matthews of Memphis.

"It absolutely eats the enamel off your teeth and rots your gums. Your teeth just start falling out," said former meth addict Anne Matthews.

Anne's story appears with other Tennesseans on the website: MethFree T-N-dot-org. There, students can learn Meth 1-0-1 and then write reports about its affects on the body.

Tennessee DAs such as Shelby County's Bill Gibbons helped develop the Meth Destroys campaign with Governor Phil Bredesen.

Gibbons visits all 40 of the middle schools in Memphis and Shelby County each year to tell teens the dangers of gangs and drugs. The new twist in his speech focuses on meth's crushing affects:

"If Meth ever becomes the drug of choice on the streets of cities such as Memphis, we will have a very serious problem. It will make the crack cocaine epidemic look like a walk in the park to be honest," Gibbons said.

The name of the campaign is "Meth Destroys." But it might be the most constructive lesson addiction-prone kids learn this year.

*You can connect to the Meth Free Tennessee website by clicking here.

All Tennessee middle and high schools now have the "Meth Destroys" teacher guides.

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