Crystal clear message

YAYA Media spreads the word on meth abusers

By Robert Dobbs on January 10, 2008

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Crystal clear message

YAYA media spreads the word on meth abusers  / by robert dobbs

This week at Olympia’s Capitol Theater, filmmakers from Oly-based  YAYA Media will offer a deeper look into the lives of methamphetamine abusers — their struggles, their perspectives and their evaluation of prevention tactics and programs, among other things. Naive viewers may be surprised to discover some of the deepest insights come from the abusers themselves.

Thurston County was once home to more meth labs than any other county in Washington. Thanks to massive, coordinated national efforts, methamphetamine abuse among youth is reportedly on the decline on the national scale. Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates junior high- and high school-age kids aren’t picking up the habit as fast as they once were. But in rural areas such as those in Thurston County, methamphetamine abuse continues to rise. In Thurston, the number of people seeking treatment for methamphetamine addiction has grown steadily since 2000 despite a significant and growing effort to stamp it out.

As bureaucrats continued to search for elaborate new ways to combat abuse, some folks in Olympia devised a novel approach to discovering more about the drug and how to fight it — they asked the users.

Beginning in late 2006, community action organization YAYA Media invited a group of young people from Thurston County to explore the ins and outs of meth abuse. The film, “My Life’s Notice,” encourages viewers to consider how families, communities, social structures, and traditional and alternative treatment options can help put the brakes on Thurston County’s speed problem. The film is informed by the participation of real addicts who share personal perspectives, stories, narratives and research into the effects and treatment of amphetamine addiction. Viewers will not see glamorized busts or emaciated Hollywood dolls doing stupid things while jittering and twitching. Unlike most big-budget drug films, there is no glamour or soothingly absurd scripted dialogue there is no sound track by Smashing Pumpkins and Blues Traveler. The film is almost unbearably honest and gives voice to the only people who seem to be consistently left out of the drug discussion — young abusers. Interviews with users dispel the comfortable illusion of the depraved, subhuman tweaker. Many of the film’s subjects tell stories of being introduced to the drug by parents and friends before they had left junior high school. All of them are frighteningly aware of their situation.

“We’re doing this because we don’t want people to end up the way we have,” says one of the film’s producers.

The show will include speaker Dave Purchase of the Point Defiance AIDS Project/Tacoma Needle Exchange, a filmmaker Q&A, reception and music by Smoke of Oldominion. Tickets are sliding scale, $10 to $25, available in advance at Traditions, Rainy Day Records and Video, and No one will be turned away for lack of duckets.

[Capitol Theater, Friday, Jan. 11, 7 p.m., $10-$25, 206 Fifth Ave. S.E., Olympia, 360.754.5378]