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Know the West

About meth and other highs

  Dear HCN,

If Erec Hopkins, the small-town meth reformee pictured in your Aug. 14 issue, is going straight, then why is he shown wearing a 420

T-shirt? Is it possible that Stephen Lyons doesn't know that 420 is the drug users' code for smoking marijuana?

I teach high school English in rural Utah, and was delighted to read Lyons' article because it will help bring about awareness of a problem that is often overlooked, and as he states more often flat out denied.

But we must work hard to become aware, and we must sometimes delve into the minds and world of youth by listening acutely to their conversations and then take time to analyze what they are saying.

One visit to the Internet told me all I needed to know about the 420 code and fad, but I had to first decipher the language of some of my students.-When kids tell me they don't use drugs, but then show up wearing shirts or hats or other clothing with certain signs or symbols on them such as 420, I become skeptical.

Maybe someone should confront Erec Hopkins with the article, the photo, and the question why he was or is wearing that symbol. I don't believe he's going straight, not for a minute, because of that photo.

I'm going to post the entire article this fall on my classroom bulletin board because it's so well written and researched, but I'm going to black out the 420.

By the way, whenever I hear kids speak, shout, holler, flaunt or whisper those numbers, I respond with my own numbers which correspond to ski lengths, peak elevations, river flows, snow levels, bicycle ratios and any other outdoor recreation ideas I can hatch.

I'm a strong proponent of the highs which include skilled exercise, endorphins and perhaps a little adrenaline.

Mark Doherty
Kamas, Utah