Seminar to target meth's impact on community

LAWRENCEVILLE — The Georgia Meth Project’s commercials (think: scabby, drug-addled teens stealing from purses or bleeding in the shower) aren’t easily scrubbed from the psyche.

The Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office hopes a seminar scheduled next week will be equally impactful and informative.

Dubbed “Methamphetamine’s Impact On Our Community,” the free, public seminar will be held from 8 a.m. to noon in the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center’s auditorium.

Speakers include Robert Evans, DEA Field Intelligence Manager; Jim Langford, Georgia Meth Project founder, and Ashley Smith Robinson, a former meth addict who gained notoriety when Brian Nichols took her hostage in her Duluth apartment.

“All the speakers are quality people, and I think the information disseminated will be excellent,” said Stan Hall, Gwinnett’s Victim Witness Program director.

Methamphetamine, which requires household items and over-the-counter drugs, is relatively inexpensive and easy to concoct, making it popular among teenagers and young adults looking for a cheap rush.

While officials believe the meth problem primarily affects rural Georgia counties, two of the biggest busts in U.S. history happened in Gwinnett County last year.

A raid on a Lawrenceville home in December netted 174 pounds of crystal meth, firearms and thousands in drug money. Thirty-one suspects, members of a Mexican drug cartel, were arrested, officials said.

In May 2009, federal authorities raided two Duluth homes being used as stash houses, seizing more than 350 pounds of Mexican crystal meth worth about $7.7 million.

Smugglers are attracted to Gwinnett by its major thoroughfares, proximity to Atlanta and burgeoning immigrant population, officials believe.

For more information or to register for the seminar, call Candice Pitman at 770-822-8491 or e-mail candice.pitman@gwinnettcounty.com.

The event is free, but registration is preferred.