“My father was addicted to meth and he killed someone,” said Burroughs, a freshman at Spanish Springs High School at the time. “He spent time in prison and he died recently because of respiratory problems he had due to meth. I at least wanted to get a certain message out that it is ruining families.”
On Wednesday, Burroughs joined about 100 officials representing the county and cities, treatment organizations, law enforcement and concerned community members to watch a preview of the newly produced sequel to the original documentary called “Parents Toolkit: How to Protect Your Child from Crystal Meth.”
“I think it’s amazing,” Burroughs said of the 15 minutes’ worth of clips put together for the preview. “I can’t believe how widespread (meth) has gotten.”
Before viewing the clip, elected officials from Washoe County, Sparks and Reno gave a few words praising the Secret Witness program and the community for the success of the first phase of its campaign with “Crystal Darkness,” which was broadcast simultaneously on nearly all the major television stations in the area on Jan. 9, 2007.
Reno-based Global Studio created both “Crystal Darkness” and “Parents Toolkit.” The company’s president, Michael Reynolds, also spoke to the audience to talk about the results from the first film. Reynolds said Nielsen ratings weren’t taken in northern Nevada when it first aired, but in Las Vegas, where the documentary was televised on May 30, 2007, it was the area’s most watched program of all time. He added that the campaign went nationwide and even aired internationally in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where, for the first time, the mayors of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas met at their border to join together to fight against meth.
While “Crystal Darkness” exposed how dangerous meth is, its sequel will offer opportunities for parents to have more in-depth discussions with their children and provide tips and strategies they can use for such talks, said Secret Witness chairwoman Katherine Loudon and other board members.
“We’ll be giving copies to counselors, teachers and community organizations that work with youth,” said Secret Witness board member Tim Griffin.
Wednesday’s preview also launched a two-year plan that will include the distribution of 35,000 DVD copies of “Parents Toolkit” to every parent and youth leader in the local community. The two-year plan also includes plans for another movie, this one recognizing children and teens in a positive video that will focus on friendship, Reynolds said.
“We will shift to celebrate kids and their good choices,” he added.
Videos will be made for the elementary, middle school, high school and collegiate levels and will include interviews with leadership students about positive steps they take to create healthy friendships with their peers, such as refusal skills when they get into trouble and what they do to avoid those scenarios.
Burroughs’ mother, Diana Lee, said she got goosebumps from watching both films and was proud of her daughter’s volunteer participation in them.
“It does take a lot of parent involvement,” Lee said.
She and Reno Mayor Bob Cashell’s son, Pat Cashell, will soon start their own campaign of visiting business to talk about the hazards of meth and to rally their help in reaching the community’s youth.
Lee also said she liked the film’s truthfulness of the tragic effects drugs have on families and teens.
“Kids don’t want to hear, ‘Don’t do drugs,’ ” Lee said. “They want to see the gory stuff. They’d rather see the real stuff rather than us telling them, ‘Don’t do this’ or ‘Don’t do drugs.’ ”
The Crystal Darkness campaign is spearheaded by northern Nevada’s nonprofit crime prevention organization, Secret Witness, and is supported by Join Together Northern Nevada, the Washoe County School District, Bristlecone Family Resources, Quest Counseling, Scolari’s Food and Drug and local Rotary clubs.
Copies of “Parents Toolkit” will be distributed starting within a few weeks, Loudon said. The campaign is funded by a $250,000 federal grant and with the assistance of private donors.