Apr 1, 2007

Methamphetamine Creeps into Ohio

Many cultural changes begin on the coasts and arrive in the American heartland a bit behind the rest of the country. It took a few years for the methamphetamine wave to roll into Ohio, but it is clear that this cursed drug is here for the forseeable future.

In 2004, 286 meth labs were seized by DEA, state and local authorities, compared to 97 in 2002 and 29 in 2000. The move to restrict pseudoephedrine sales in 2006 seems to have cut down on the number of meth labs in the state, but more meth is crossing the border from labs in Mexico.

Nationally, the number of admissions to drug treatment centers in which methamphetamine was the primary drug of abuse increased more than threefold, from 47,695 in 1995 to 152,368 in 2005.

The live-and-let-live side of me used to avoid getting too flustered about the drug use of other people so long as I am not affected, but the social costs of meth abuse are staggering. The State of Montana provides an example of the financial burden posed by methamphetamine abuse: 52% of Montana children in foster care ($12 million), 50% of adults in prison are ($45 million), and 20% of adults in drug treatment ($12 million) cost that state an annual cost of $79 million in direct expenses.

This in a state of approximately 900,000 people.

South Dakota home meth lab, clandestine meth labSouth Dakota home meth lab

Add to this the cost of cleaning up clandestine meth labs, which average about $5,000 per building, but which can cost up to $100,000 or more to remove the toxic byproducts discarded by the meth producers.

One can only imagine what the human cost of this destructive drug are.

I tend to advocate decriminalization of drugs, and I do not wish to see law enforcement wasting time and money chasing drug users, especially the pathetic people whose lives are being destroyed by meth. Libertarian-esque arguments about personal freedoms, however, leave me scratching my head, and those who argue "legalize but tax" must not be thinking of methamphetamines when they make this argument.

Unfortunately, as I sit in my meth-free little home writing this post, I have no answers, other than to increase awareness of the dangers and pervasiveness of meth abuse. Want to see some real-life effects of meth abuse? Check out Faces of Meth, and be forewarned: Meth makes no one look prettier.

I pray that meth never enters my home and yours, but I fear that one of us, statistically, will not be so lucky.


Anonymous said...

The scariest part is the eyes. They look haunted, like they've lost all hope in this world.

Montana is full of billboards advertising the physical effects of meth, particularly around the reservations- meth is a huge problem in those areas because of the poverty level. They put a lot of money into their anti-drug campaign, but it seems to be working. Awareness is important.

racially aware said...

It's those black criminals you antiracists love so much that are causing the problems. Control black crime and you'll see the epidemic cure itself. Better yet, let the crank clear the streets of negro beasts.

historymike said...


Agreed about awareness, but I wonder about the millions of meth users who have to bottom out before seeking help.

historymike said...

"Racially Aware":

Not only are you a racist asshole, but you are ignorant as well.

Not that it makes any difference to me, but whites are by far the largest consumers of meth, especially rural whites.

Get your facts straight, moron.

From John P. Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy:

Racially, it's focused on whites. Meth has not been a major drug of abuse in the African-American community.

What's your next piece of disinformation, asshole? That Da Joos manufactured meth to bring down the Aryans?

And, by the way, why do you idiots try to find a way to turn every f**king discussion around to race?

(historymike is grouchy that UCLA lost, likely bumping him out of a money slot in one of his pools).

microdot said...

Why even bother to reply to racially aware? he'll never be back to read your comments. they stand by themselves, a self damning document of the stupidity that is destroying America.
Maybe he is a bit cranky after missing his methamphetamine connection this morning....

Saskboy said...

It's so sad that people resort to self abuse like this.

And speaking of sad things, I wish the virus writers would give it a rest already!

Good to see your Blogger blog isn't yet affected by this. I've been working through the night on a solution!

Do said...

A few months ago I attended a class given by a state investigator about meth labs and the destruction that ensues.

The frequency of these labs that pop up ALL OVER the place is mind-numbing. They show up in places you would never dream of. And the 'cookers' have a very precise pattern to attempt to avoid capture/prosecution.

I think every 12 year old should see some of the documented cases of meth abuse and the changes that occur to the user. Physical and mental. The state has a program that has that documentation.

And for those that think that the empty house next to them can't be used to 'cook' meth....do some studying. A meth lab requires no electricity or running water and is highly volatile. Then toss in the long lasting chemical toxicity...it's not a good thing.

As with any addiction - meth users won't/don't seek help until they are at rock bottom. If they survive a rock bottom experience they will either choose to change or choose to die.

It's a vicious cycle - and it affects all classes - from below poverty level to wealthy.

Peahippo said...

There's no rational head-scratching to be done, here. "Legalize and tax" isn't an argument -- it's a cold hard fact of American liberty that we're supposed to be enjoying.

Some of the demons of meth production and usage exist since meth is illegal. We've made the problem much worse by chasing producers and users as if they were criminals.

No, no, despite the well-displaced Liberal urge to illegalize anything that seems harmful, we must be free to harm or titillate ourselves with chemical substances. The nation-state is not our nanny, parent or guardian.

For the rest of us who don't indulge in such things, we're perfectly free to enact information campaigns that show the potential for drugs to harm us. That's an important part of the SAME LIBERTY that allows us to indulge in drugs in the first place.

Saskboy said...

Happy April Fools Day,
the virus was of course a prank, there's no Blog Dump Virus. :-)

The Screaming Nutcase said...

Major problem, Mike: meth use is down, and has been. The meth scare is pretty much media hype. If you don't believe me, check out figures from the ONDCP about use. (These same tools have been in use for years, and seem to identify trends pretty accurately.)

More meth admissions just means more people admitting they have a problem--not necessarily more use. More busted labs often just means authorities are getting better at finding them. It also pushes the meth trade from a cooker who just wanted to get his fix, to violent cross-border drug running, as you've noted.

Imprisoning meth users just for posession is expensive: imagine how much treatment we could fund if we quit arresting these people, and taxed their product instead of giving them free rent.

Speaking as a paramedic of 10+ years, although meth may be hard on most users, the #1 problem drug as I see it remains alcohol. It's everywhere, and people think it's more benign than it really is.