Living

Video raises awareness about meth use

Meth causes pimples.

It makes people paranoid.

And it's easy to buy, try and get addicted to - especially when you're young, homeless and surrounded by other drug users.

Those are just a few of the messages in "My Life's Notice," a documentary produced by local youths about methamphetamine that premieres Friday at Capitol Theater.

The 35-minute video was created to raise awareness about meth use and addiction among young people, according to Rebecca Vogt with Thurston Community Television's Youth and Young Adult (YAYA) Video program.

"I've never done meth myself, but I've seen a lot of family and friends go through it," said Vogt, 19, of Olympia. "There are people behind these users. They have stories they want to share."

The project was organized and funded by TCTV, Together, the United Communities AIDS Network and Community Youth Services.

Much of the footage was shot during community events held last January and February, when young people were invited to communicate their meth experiences through on-camera interviews and artwork.

About 25 South Sound youths helped with the project, said Jessica Eskelson, youth media coordinator for TCTV. Many of them live on the streets or have been homeless in the past.

"Some of them were even recovering themselves," Eskelson added.

The goal of the documentary was to prompt a community dialogue about meth use among young people, Eskelson said.

And because the video was created by youths, it begins the conversation on their terms.

"Instead of it being about experts talking about how to get clean, the youth talk about what works for them," Eskelson said.

For most of the people featured in the video, drug treatment programs weren't effective, Vogt said. Many used "risk reduction" practices such as using clean needles or switching to a different drug, she said.

"They were very honest about what it's been like for them, and their struggles with meth," said Mary Segawa, executive director of Together. "I think they did a wonderful job of telling it like it is."

After the screening, people will be invited to stay for a presentation by Dave Purchase from the Point Defiance AIDS Project and founder of the Tacoma Needle Exchange, a question-and-answer session with filmmakers and a reception.

Because of the nature of the film, Selena Kilmoyer with Partners in Prevention Education said her organization's staff members will be on hand throughout the evening to help individuals who might need it.

"Methamphetamine is a pretty scary thing," she said. "This is something that we feel is needed."

In conjunction with the film's premiere, Kilmoyer said Partners in Prevention Education is hosting a community meeting on Saturday to discuss a "Youth Safety Zone" - an after-hours place for young people.

She said it's a concept that young people in the area have talked about for years. She said it would be a place where young people could go and hangout, and where they can get information and talk to people from agencies who can help them.

But the first step is to get people who care about the issue together and to get the project to move forward, Kilmoyer said.

In upcoming months, "My Life's Notice" likely will be featured in a youth film festival, Eskelson said. She hopes it will be played in schools and youth treatment facilities.

Vogt believes the video's message will resonate with young viewers.

"My biggest thing is, if we prevent one person from trying meth for the first time, I will be ecstatic," she said.

Lisa Pemberton writes for The Olympian. She can be reached at 360-704-6871 or lpemberton@theolympian.com.

If you go

What: Premiere of a documentary on methamphetamine produced by local youth, "My Life's Notice"

When: 7 p.m. Friday; doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. E.

Additional events: The event also will feature guest speaker Dave Purchase of the Point Defiance AIDS Project and Tacoma Needle Exchange, a question-and-answer session with the filmmaker, and a reception and dancing with DJ Smoke of Oldominion.

Tickets: Sliding scale of $10-$25, though no one will be turned away. Tickets are available at Tradition s Cafe and World Folk Art, Rainy Day Records, buyolympia.com or at the box office the night of the event.

Information: Call Jessica Eskelson at 360-956-3100, ext. 114, or e-mail Jeskelson@tctv.net.

Get involved

What: A community meeting to discuss an after-hours "safe place" for youths

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: First Christian Church, 701 Franklin St. S.E., Olympia

More information: Contact Selena Kilmoyer at 360-357-4472 or e-mail thezone@youthchangeagents.org.

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