Local officials react to meth documentary

By Helena Rodriguez, PNT Staff Writer

It wasn’t like reefer madness in the 1960s, when officials tried to scare people away from using drugs. This was the real deal.

That’s what Jennifer Lockwood, a licensed mental health counselor with Mental Health Resources in Portales said on Thursday night after watching, “Crystal Darkness,” a 30-minute, commercial-free documentary about methamphetamine, which aired statewide following the evening news.

“This was not a scare tactic. This was just enough to get people talking,” Lockwood said. “Because the thing about it is that it was all true.”

The “Crystal Darkness” documentary, filmed in northern New Mexico by a nonprofit organization in Nevada, was part of a campaign designed to draw awareness to the statewide problem of meth abuse and addiction.

Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry was unable to watch the documentary on Thursday night, although his family did. Berry said, “Meth is probably the biggest narcotic issue that we deal with. We deal with meth abuse on a daily basis, through the people we come in contact with.”

Berry said that the Portales Police Department gets at least one call a week from family members of meth addicts, asking what they can do, where they can get help for their loved ones.

Berry also commented on a local documentary being filmed by a Portales man, Paul Hunton, with the help of Crime Stoppers. “We are really encouraged by what Paul is doing. He has a great project going on and it’s about people from here, from this area,” Berry said.

At Lindsey Middle School in Portales, sixth graders were encouraged to watch the “Crystal Darkness” documentary on Thursday night with their families. Lindsey Principal Rick Segovia said, “At Lindsey, our students are getting to the age where they are most likely to be influenced by TV or by older people. We want to empower them and educate them on the dangers of meth, to help give them refusal skills to say no, and avoid situations that will get them into it.”

Segovia said the school has also had officials from the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office speak to the children about the dangers of meth use.

While Lockwood thought the documentary was a good tool in creating more awareness, she said that she hopes it does not cause people to judge meth addicts.

“We have to really help these people,” she said. “They are not monsters. Even though meth does make people do terrible things, there are people inside of them.”

Lockwood did say she was a bit disappointed that the documentary did not address the area of rehabilitation. In the documentary, one man said, “There is not a prison cell in this country that will shake the addiction of methamphetamine.”

Berry said, “One thing that people need to realize is that getting addicted doesn’t happen overnight and getting clean doesn’t happen overnight, either.”

The reoccurring theme throughout the documentary by recovering addicts was, “It’s not worth it!” as addicts talked about how meth caused them to do things they never thought they could do.

According to the documentary, methamphetamine is a man-made drug which travels to the brain and creates an intense rush for hours and is known to keep people awake for days at a time.

Over time, the drug destroys the brain’s pleasure receptors and causes severe depression in people and a constant addiction that is never satisfied.

For more information about the documentary go to www.crystaldarkness.com. To get help for meth addiction, call 877-238-7272.