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Friday, May 6, 2016

Prosecutor to speak at PCMHA annual meeting

Friday, April 28, 2006

For a half-hour on Monday, Tim Bookwalter hopes he has everyone's undivided attention.

The Putnam County Prosecutor will speak at the Putnam County Mental Health Association's annual membership meeting and award ceremony, which is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. in the Kiwanis Room at the Putnam County Public Library.

Bookwalter will discuss the on-going methamphetamine problem in the county.

To Bookwalter, Monday's speech has become old-hand.

"It's kind of sporadic," he said. "I did a lot (of speaking) in the winter time."

Bookwalter said he spoke mostly at the four county high schools about the dangers of methamphetamines, but recently was at Cloverdale talking about concerns dealing with the popular website, myspace.com.

"It's probably been a month-and-a-half since I talked about meth," Bookwalter said.

He said during his speech, he hopes to talk about how the drug use affects those who are addicted in addition to the remainder of the community.

"I tie in specific events in our county," he said. "It can happen to anybody. That's what hits home, the local stuff. The reason meth is so insidious is you can go out to the local Wal-Mart and buy everything you need to make it."

"Everyday, we have the same cases. It's an everyday event for us."

Bookwalter said the methamphetamine problem in Putnam County has subsided somewhat since county officials began cracking down on the problem almost two years ago.

"They've really cracked down," he said, referring to police officials who have arrested several area "meth cookers."

"We've seen a drop-off. We've had one meth lab in the last six months," Bookwalter said. "But we've still got a few out there that we know about, and new people will crop up."

Bookwalter said county officials are utilizing a new program, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, to help meth users recover from addiction. He said officials attempt to clean up arrested methamphetamine users by placing them in jail for at least 90 days and having them attend daily groups.

"But none of us know if it's going to work or not. It's still in progress," Bookwalter said.

The timeliness of Bookwalter's speech Monday could not be more ironic, following the arrests of several individuals in Clay County last week, including one Putnam County resident.

Bookwalter said people in the community have helped squash the methamphetamine problem by informing officials of local usage.

"People have helped us a lot," he said. "Word gets around. If we're tough, they know.

"But some people still seem to think it's somebody else's problem."

In addition, the Person of the Year and Educator of the Year awards will be presented at the program on Monday, and the Junior Mental Health Association will present a short performance of its Puppet Power program.

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