Many have wondered. Is it an epidemic? Is it a widespread and growing societal problem. The answer became abundantly clear when Jim Langford, executive director of the Georgia Meth Project, asked the audience before him if they or their family had been directly effected by methamphetamine. Everyone raised their hand.The unofficial poll took place today at the Meth Summit sponsored in part by the Lamar County sheriff’s office and supported by DFACS, Pathways Center, RSM Project, county fire and rescue, the E.P. Roberts Center, and the Towaliga Drug Court. Featuring speakers Thurbert Baker, attorney general for Georgia, and Langford, the audience was assured the recent education influx was not part of some heretic scare tactic or a modern spoof of “Reefer Madness” but rather a much needed address of a very real problem. By 9 a.m. community members, politicians and students milled about looking at table displays, asking questions, touring vehicles courtesy of the GBI and the Tennessee Anti-Meth Task Force, and asking questions of groups such as Mothers Against Meth, RSM, and the district attorney’s office. Nearly 200 people attended.At 11 a.m. Kathy Bell, an organizer of MAMa and a recovering meth addict, took the podium to warn against meth and recount her experience on the drug including repossession of her house and car, losing custody of her children, being fired from her job and losing sight of her own ambition. Said Bell, “Meth is nothing but a lie. It steals and it lies, but there is hope in information and outreach.” She continued by challenging Lamar County to look at ways of healing addicts rather than locking them up and losing the key, so to speak. She spoke of cleaning the streets rather than emptying them.