NEWS RELEASE - September 19, 2006
Act Now Against Meth presents 10,000 petition signatures and is victorious at Board of Supervisors meeting.
Richard Zaldivar, Founder and Executive Director of The Wall Las Memorias Project speaks on behalf of the Act Now Against Meth in a morning press conference.Board passes motion instructing the Alcohol and Drugs, AIDS and Mental Health directors to respond in 90 days.
Los Angeles, CA – After 12 months of community mobilizing and meeting with elected officials, The Act Now Against Meth coalition was victorious in getting the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors to respond to the methamphetamine abuse epidemic. Recommended by Supervisors Yaroslavsky and Burke, the Board of Supervisors passed a motion instructing the Director of Public Health's Alcohol and Drug Program Administration and Office of AIDS Programs and Policy, and the Director of Mental Health to report back to the Board within 90 days on a comprehensive strategy for (meth) use prevention and intervention, including an overview of meth use in Los Angeles. The strategy should identify specific goals, objectives and outcome measures for dealing with the epidemic.
Before the motion was passed, coalition leaders presented the Act Now Against Meth petition signed by 10,000 concerned community members. The petition demanded that the Board declare a public health emergency, including five other action items.
The five other demands are:
1. Create and expand state and federal programs to educate health care professionals to identify, educate and treat methamphetamine addiction.
2. Coordinate and integrate meth prevention, educational and treatment strategies among local, state and federal HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted disease, substance abuse, and mental health programs.
3. Fully fund awareness, educational, prevention and treatment efforts.
4. Fund message/intervention research and development of effective social marketing campaigns to reach at-risk populations.
5. Require large-scale social events, such as circuit parties and community events, to provide methamphetamine education or prevention.
The Act Now Against Meth Coalition began the signature-gathering effort last fall. In addition to gathering petitions throughout Los Angeles at events and various venues, the coalition has held candlelight vigils and built relationships with other organizations and individuals across the county to raise awareness about crystal meth and its effect on communities and families. "This coalition is about speaking on behalf of those affected by the meth epidemic and those who have a meth addiction and absolutely have no where to go", says Tim Young, Associate Director- Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team.
“Crystal meth is a community issue, and it requires a community response,” said Eddie Martinez, associate director of The Wall-Las Memorias Project and a member of the Act Now Against Meth Coalition. “But we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re took our demands to the Board of Supervisors. We must work together. And we must act quickly.”
In addition to the 90 day response, the board also instructed the County's Legislative Advocates in Sacramento to identify and support legislation that will fund and expand the County's research and prevention and treatment efforts on meth addiction; and instruct the Director of Public Health to expand the membership of the Methamphetamine Work Group to include additional advocates against crystal meth use including community service agencies serving at-risk populations.
Coalition leaders will continue to seek a declaration of a public state of health emergency for the county of Los Angeles as they wait for the department directors to respond in 90 days with their plan of action.
Coalition members include Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team, Being Alive, BiLatinMen.com, Casa de las Amigas, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Choices, El Centro del Pueblo, El Proyecto del Barrio, Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council, Metropolitan Community Church Los Angeles, Midtowne Spa, About Time Productions, The Wall-Las Memorias Project, The Tweakers Project, Van Ness Recovery House.
In attendance was Jury Candelario, Executive Director of Asian Pacific AIDS intervention Team, Rafael Cosio, Executive Director, Being Alive, Rev. Will Wauters, and Epiphany Episcopal Church, Lincoln Heights; Pastor Randy Carrillo, Highland Park Ministry Fellowship; Najee Ali, Project Islamic H.O.P.E.