Organizer hopes Porterdale event will show dangers of early methamphetamine use


PORTERDALE, Georgia. – Destiny Gee is hoping that the first Freedom Fest it hosted this weekend will make a strong case against the use of an illegal and highly addictive drug that could end up consuming the user’s life.

Gee, a resident of Covington, operates a nonprofit called March Against Meth which will host the inaugural Freedom Fest on Saturday, September 25 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Porter Memorial Gym at 2201 Main St. in Porterdale.

The free event is expected to feature three guest speakers as well as live musical performances from Primo and East Rich; and testimonials from other people.

One of the scheduled speakers, Veronica Reid, said she plans to speak to attendees about her experience with drugs – including changing her life in 2019 after 18 years as a methamphetamine addict.

“If I could reach a family and give them hope, it would be worth it,” she said.

Gee, 27, is a single mother and an active member of the Living Way world church in Covington.

She also openly admits to overcoming her addiction to methamphetamine and pills in her late teens in 2013.

Everyone who has to speak or perform has either overcome addictions or strive for “freedom,” Gee said.

“Each person comes from a different perspective,” Gee said. “I want to inspire (the participants) to keep going and to move in the right direction.”

Reid started using methamphetamine at age 17 while living in Newton County because a lot of her friends did and it was readily available, she said.

She has not used methamphetamine for over three years and now works for a local packaging company.

“We’re freeing ourselves one at a time so the next generation doesn’t have to go through what we’ve been doing,” Reid said.

The Georgia Meth Project reports on its website that the United States Drug Enforcement Administration lists Atlanta as a strategic hub for the trafficking of methamphetamine and other drugs by Mexican drug cartels.

It says methamphetamine abuse costs Georgia about $ 1.3 billion a year, including expenses related to law enforcement, family and social services, treatments and lost productivity.[[[

Many counties in Georgia report that 50-60% of children in foster care in those counties are there because of one or both parents’ addiction to methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, numerous national media reported the results of a recent study showing that methamphetamine use increased 43% between 2015 and 2019, and deaths from methamphetamine overdoses nearly tripled in the same period. period in the United States.

The results published Wednesday in the publication JAMA Psychiatry revealed that the number of overdose deaths involving psychostimulants – mainly methamphetamine – increased by 180%, from 5,526 in 2015 to 15,489 in 2019.

However, methamphetamine use only increased by 43% over the same period, suggesting that high-risk behaviors such as mixing substances may contribute to the increase in deaths, according to the study.

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