YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls is starting a new initiative, “Don’t Meth with Yuma”.
The Tohono O’odham Nation made a contribution to the education and donated more than $15,220 to the cause.
The state of Arizona’s law enforcement say that meth is the leading problem in the state. United for Yuma states that more than 70 percent of burglaries and robberies have increased because of meth use.
U.S. Border Patrol has taken more 645 pounds of meth from checkpoints including Yuma, Blythe and Wellton.
Jeff Oats who is a contractor for the City of Yuma says, “It’s an effort to bring multiple organizations to try and solve a problem and try to break down the cycle and bring people together.”
Yuma Police Department reports that in 2015 more than 457 pounds of meth has been found by the narcotics unit in the city alone.
“There were 143 arrests which were apart of the patrol unit which may not sound like a lot, but they aren’t really looking for meth,” said Jeff Oats.
Marisa Ochoa’s addiction to meth started at the age of 14, she says why she tried it in the first place, “I had a lot going on in my life and I wanted to be numb so I wouldn’t have to deal with these issues I was going through, and I just tried it with a friend and I got hooked.”
Ochoa says the drug drew her in, but after years of use she surrounded herself with very dangerous situations. That had severe consequences in her life.
“I lost my kids, I was sexually assaulted, I was raped, I lost my house and a lot of family members they don’t really talk to me anymore. I lost loved ones, it’s no game, no fun anymore” said Ochoa.
Going back to a night where she was sexually assaulted Ochoa says hanging out with drug users is not a path young teens should take.
“We were both high I ended up blacking out because I did too much [meth] and then he raped me because we were laying in bed together. I asked him what happened and he said I wanted it, and I didn’t, and I wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone thinking it’s fun to do the drug it’s not.”