by: Diana Davis Updated:
FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. - A 16-year-old girl told Channel 2 Action News how she began using methamphetamine when she was just 15.
Whitney Lefler told Channel 2's Diana Davis her story on the same day the Georgia Meth Project rolled out its new classroom meth prevention program.
"It made me feel very happy" Lefler said. "And that was appealing to me because I was very depressed. I was angry at the world."
Lefler said she was just 12 when she first smoked pot. By 15 she'd moved on to painkillers, synthetic heroin and meth.
"It was an instant effect and instantly, my brain was like, 'This is your drug. This is what you need,'" she said.
Lefler, who is now sober and in recovery, told Davis she used meth with friends and strangers. But she said it was her own mother who got her started.
"It did kind of make me feel since she was smoking meth that it was OK for me to," Lefler said.
The Georgia Meth Project said some meth users are as young as
9 when they first start using meth.
It is now taking its message of prevention that began on television, radio, the Internet and social media, directly to Georgia middle and high school students.
"We see people starting on meth at
9, 11, 12 years old, if you can imagine that. Our program is aimed at 12- to 17-year-olds." Georgia Meth Project's Executive Director Jim Langford told Davis.
The teacher-led meth prevention lesson was rolled out Tuesday at Fayette County's Bennett's Middle School. It's now available to educators statewide.
eighth-grade health class, which was the first to see the presentation, are just one year younger than Lefler was when she started meth.
The aim of the program is to reach more than 860,000 Georgia teens.
Project directors know the message must be constant and strong. Lefler told Davis she was warned about meth in middle school but says it didn't stop her.
"I just thought, 'I'm high, I'm cool. This is all that matters in the world right now,'" Lefler said.
She told Davis she didn't stop until the night police arrested her mother for drugs in the Forsyth County motel they were staying in.
Lefler said it's an image she'll never forget.
"And that was the first time I could ever say no to meth, was after seeing my mom get pulled into the cop car," Lefler said.
She's now focused on her recovery and staying sober, but she said she'd like to help other kids.
"I just want to make sure other people don't have to go through what I have to go through, you know, what I did go through," Lefler said.