In response to a letter ("EO story sensationalized meth problems in Umatilla County," EO, April 20), I am not aware of any law-abiding citizen who would allow drugs and crime to flourish. They are cancers and multiply quickly without intervention.

The scourge called "meth" has been a problem for many years and in the past five to seven years has become a plague in Umatilla and Morrow counties.

I was previously employed with the county in the capacity of an alcohol and drug counselor and have seen the many phases a person's life goes through, including their family and friends, when they are hooked on this toxic waste.

I attended the Oregon Methamphetamine Summit in Portland in September 2003 with several co-workers and state dignitaries.

The whole agenda was about identifying, educating and stopping the easy access to the chemicals needed to "cook" this drug.

The continual effort to have Umatilla and Morrow counties designated as high traffic areas would release additional funding to fight this battle. The DEA and other Department of Justice personnel came to our county and presented community forums to help educate those who were willing and interested in becoming part of the solution, as opposed to the problem.

Yes, we have a great community, but let's not ignore the elephant in our neighborhood or put our head in the sand because we are afraid.

I could find no embellishment with the article. It was well written and based in fact. The 5-6 pounds of solid waste left "where ever" was part of the concern discussed in the 2003 summit. We can only make a difference if we have the knowledge needed to make changes that are effective and meaningful.

Last of all, the article was on the front page, but it was in the middle of the bottom half. The lead story was about the Pendleton Little Leaguers parade and the families involved.

Dot Veristain-Elliott

Hermiston

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