GMCU, Banks Join in Local Meth Abuse Fight
MORA, Minn. - Greater Minnesota Credit Union has teamed up with Kanabec State Bank and Peoples Bank of Mora to help local law enforcement in their fight against Methamphetamine (meth) abuse. "Meth isn't just a law enforcement problem," said GMCU President/CEO Steve Ahlness. "We all need to be aware and engaged from our schools to clinics, and even our places of employment. I'm honored that we have the support of Kanabec State Bank and Peoples Bank of Mora on this project. This is a worthy cause to support. But most of all we need the support of the public to turn in and help these people who are trapped by meth." The financial institutions have paid for billboards across the county promoting an anonymous Meth Tip hotline in hopes that it will raise awareness of the growing problem and encourage the public to be part of the solution. The boards asks local consumers to call 1-800-TIP-US-OFF, Ext. 320 if they suspect criminal activity of any type. But Kanabec County Sheriff Steve Schulz says the focus of the campaign is to encourage the public to report on the use or manufacture of meth. According to Schulz, meth is costing Kanabec County about $1 million a year with the 2004 the per-citizen cost of about $60. In addition, when comparing the overall prison population, there has been a noticeable increase in the percentage of meth offenders in prison jumping from 2.2% in 2001 to 12.1% in 2004.