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On Monday, expert arms citizens for meth battle

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

June 24, 2006

Sen. Rick Metsger, D-Welches, has invited a national expert to arm Hood River citizens in the battle against methamphetamine addiction and related crimes.

Rob Bovett takes the podium as keynote speaker at Monday’s “Fighting the Meth Epidemic” forum. Bovett, legal counsel for the Oregon Narcotics Enforcement Association, will be joined by Hood River County Circuit Court Judge Paul Crowley, who oversees the local drug court. The panel also includes Jerry Brown, chief deputy for the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Hood River County Library, 503 State St.

Metsger said the recent series of articles on recovering meth addicts in the Hood River News illustrated the complexities of treatment. He is hopeful the June 26 forum will further educate citizens about the growing number of crimes related to the drug, such as identity theft. He said audience members will be invited to share concerns and ask questions of the professional panel.

“I look forward to this opportunity to have a conversation with members of the community and hear what is important to you,” said Metsger.

He said, in 2005, the Legislature made it a top priority to stop the scourge of meth in Oregon. Metsger said new laws were passed that increased penalties, expanded the scope of punishable crimes and restricted access to materials used in the manufacturing of meth.

However, he said the popularity of the drug continues to grow — and so do the associated crime challenges.

“We have won some victories but the battle is far from over,” Metsger said.

Bovett authored Oregon’s meth lab chemical control laws and is a member of the Governor’s Meth Task Force. He is also chair of the Drug Endangered Children Subcommittee and co-founder and president of the Oregon Alliance for Drug Endangered Children. He is a member of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission’s Meth Steering Committee and the founder of the Lincoln County Meth Initiative, focusing on prevention, enforcement and treatment.

To date, Bovett has provided more than 250 presentations on meth-related topics and has appeared on Good Morning America, National Public Radio, KATU-2’s Town Hall, PBS NewsHour, Frontline, and the Oregon Public Broadcasting network.

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