Methamphetamine is a drug that's taken the Heartland by storm. Missouri has the second highest number of meth lab busts in the country. So, when is a good age to talk to kids about meth? How about third grade? It may seem young, but not to the experts who designed an anti-meth program for elementary school students. It's starting in Puxico, and soon this program will make it's way around the state and maybe even to other states that are dealing with a meth crisis. How much do third graders know about methamphetamine? Not much, but that's changing in the Heartland. Eight and nine year olds are taking part in a first of it's kind, week long program. It's called Medfels , that stands for "meth education for elementary schools". It's designed to teach kids all about the drug that has taken Missouri, especially the bootheel, by storm. But are eight and nine year olds too young for such mature subject matter? Not according to their teacher. Barbara Davis says it's a good age because they're being exposed to drugs at a younger and younger age. She says when they're young, they're open to new ideas and they tend to listen to adults. If the Medfels program is a success in Puxico, it'll be used at other Missouri elementary schools and possibly even in other states. The students spend about a half hour a day, for a week, learning everything they need to know about meth. Davis says the topics cover the ingredients of meth, it's effects on the body, on the community and on the environment. And in third grade, they have lots of questions. One little boys asked if meth could kill you? And the answer is yes! Besides the classroom work, there's also an internet website with lots of games and information for the students. The website is a place they can visit regularly, even after the week-long program has ended. So why start this anti-meth program in Puxico? It was a project that Chris Sifford was closely involved with. He was working on it for Governor Mel Carnahan. Both Sifford and Carnahan, along with the Governor's son, were killed in a plane crash just a few months ago. So, state leaders thought it was appropriate to take the program to Chris' hometown of Puxico first.
You can log on to the Medfels website by clicking on the link below.