February 17, 2006
Posted online February 23, 2006
WSIU to address region's meth epidemic
in local call-in show
Carbondale, IL - Speed. Meth. Glass. On the street,
methamphetamine has many names. What started as a fad among West
Coast motorcycle gangs in the 1970s has spread across the United
States, and despite lawmakers' calls for action, the drug is
more potent, and more destructive, than at any time in the past
decade. Today, there are more than 1.5 million meth addicts in
the U. S. alone, and millions more worldwide.
WSIU TV 8/DT 40 and WUSI TV 16/DT 19, the public television
stations of Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), will
address the meth crisis at the national and local levels with two
special broadcasts, including a one-hour special from the WSIU
InFocus series, on Thursday, February 23, beginning at 8pm.
In a reporting partnership with The Oregonian,
Frontline: The Meth
Epidemic (8-9pm) investigates the appalling impact of
methamphetamine on individuals, families and communities and
exposes the inherent conflict between the illegal drug trade and
the legitimate $3 billion dollar cold remedy business.
"Meth has made a steady march across the United
States," says Steve Suo, a reporter for Portland's The
Oregonian, who has followed meth from the beginning. The
discovery of meth labs in states from Maine to Florida
foreshadows a new crisis on the East Coast.
"They can expect to see increased car theft, increased
identity theft, domestic violence, child neglect, drug overdoses
and just a lot of mayhem," says Suo.
Following at 9pm, Mid-America's Meth Epidemic, a live
one-hour edition of WSIU InFocus, will address the region's
meth crisis through personal stories, a panel discussion among
local experts, and a live call-in opportunity for viewers.
"By combining the Frontline broadcast with our own local
production and outreach efforts, we hope to give our audience a
greater insight into the policy issues involving meth at the
national and state levels," says WSIU producer and program
host, Jak Tichenor. "We also want to put viewers in contact
with local experts who can help them address the meth issue in
their own families and communities."
Panelists scheduled to appear on the program include Steve
Mange, Methamphetamine Policy Advisor to Illinois Attorney
General, Lisa Madigan; George Norwood, Assistant U.S.
Attorney, Southern District of Illinois; Rob McConnell, Saline
County Sheriff's Office; Wendy Bailie, Franklin-Williamson
County Human Services; and Bill Peyton, Regional Director,
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Viewers are invited to call 800-745-9748 throughout the
broadcast to ask questions and to talk with members of the Southern Illinois
Methamphetamine Control Coalition, who will provide
information about regional meth treatment programs. The phone
bank will include representatives from Southern Illinois
Healthcare, Herrin Hospital, Pepsi Mid-America, John A. Logan
College, Heartland Regional Medical Center, Williamson County
Police, and Franklin Williamson Human Services.
"Meth has caused unprecedented misery for countless
families in our viewing area and has stretched local law
enforcement resources almost to the breaking point," says
Tichenor. "But there's also an incredible amount of good
work being done to address the problem and to provide workable
solutions. We aim to showcase these local efforts in our
broadcast." More details about this episode of WSIU InFocus
and direct links to other helpful websites will be available
online at www.wsiu.org
beginning on February 21.
In addition to the WSIU InFocus special, WSIU has donated
children's books and early learning materials for Kids Care
Backpacks, which are being distributed to children who have been
removed from meth environments. The backpacks are part of Project
X, a free service of
www.sirss.org Southern Illinois Regional Social Services
(SIRSS) providing education on the dangers of methamphetamine and
club drugs through collaboration with parents, schools, community
agencies, churches, and city government. Southern Illinois
Healthcare is assisting SIRSS with the distribution of the Kids
WSIU InFocus is WSIU Television's newest local series.
Each episode features a combination of field-produced and studio
segments on the arts and education, family and community,
regional history and cultural identity, and news and public
Reaching out to surrounding communities, and developing and
maintaining a foundation for social progress in our region are
among the goals outlined in Southern at 150: Building Excellence
Through Commitment, a blueprint for SIUC's development by its
150th anniversary in 2019.
WSIU Public Broadcasting is licensed to the Board of Trustees
of Southern Illinois University.
It operates two analog and two digital public television
channels, and three public radio stations. WSIU's mission is
to improve the quality of life of the people they serve. Through
programs, services, and outreach, WSIU partners with other
community organizations to promote positive change and to support
the public service mission of Southern Illinois University
Carbondale. To find out more, visit www.wsiu.org.
Contact: Jak Tichenor, WSIU Producer, (618) 453-6187, firstname.lastname@example.org