Former Bend Mayor Bruce Abernethy and current Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney founded the Coalition in early 2004 after a highly successful Meth Summit at St. Charles Hospital. The message to the 185 Summit attendees was that meth use had reached socially debilitating levels and was creating huge personal and socioeconomic losses across all sectors of society in Deschutes County.
Based on drug activity statistics, Deschutes County is one of eight Oregon counties that were designated in June 1999 as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Despite recent declines in meth activity, over 90 percent of Oregon law enforcement agencies surveyed in 2008 indicated that ice methamphetamine continues to be the greatest drug threat to their jurisdictions. meth was also reported as the drug that contributes most to violent (83%) and property crimes (91%).
Research has indicated that meth is more addictive than any other drug and the latest medical evidence indicates that those who try it once have a sixty (60) percent chance of using it a second time, where the chance of addiction rises to an astounding ninety-two (92) percent. To combat this problem, the Coalition was chartered to develop and enhance prevention education though awareness programs to school age students and community groups and to support the efforts of law enforcement and treatment providers. Since its inception as a formal 501 (c) 3 nonprofit entity in 2006, the Coalition has given hundreds of meth awareness presentations to a wide variety of school and community groups. Presentations to school age groups alone have totaled over 8,000 students. Based on recent data, we believe we are making significant inroads in pointing out the dangers of meth to a younger audience of school age children. It is our belief that prevention and awareness education is the key to a long-term solution to this problem.
We are deeply indebted to The Rotary Club of Greater Bend for its support in providing funding to the Coalition in 2006-2008. This support has been leveraged with additional contributions from a variety of local businesses and grant support from the Oregon Community Foundation. The Coalition's long-term goal is to secure continuing private funding from individuals within Deschutes County. Broad-based community support will provide the impetus to continue our meth awareness and education efforts as individual contributors will feel more closely associated with a cause that must be won.
We welcome your financial and volunteer support of our meth awareness efforts.