Sep 5, 2007

On Meth Addicts and Chance Encounters

Left: Mug shots in chronological order of a long-term meth user

I was purchasing some items at a local Walgreen's store when I noticed some motion behind me at the checkout counter. A younger woman was kind of wriggling about in the aisle, and from the corner of my eye I assumed that she was doing the "potty dance."

Prior to my arrival at the counter the cashier was helping the woman get something from behind the register, which turned out to be a two-pack of butane lighters.

I mistakenly entered the amount of the check I was writing on the Payee line, and then I heard the active woman let out one of those audible, impatient harrumphs when a frustrated person is irritated by an absent-minded geezer like me.

Only the woman's behavior turned... weird. She began pacing in quick fashion, back and forth, muttering under her breath. I then turned to give her one of those indignant stares when I saw her face, which was covered in open sores. There were also red sores on her arms, and her eyes were sunken in like a terminally-ill cancer patient.

This was a person clearly under the influence of a potent upper, which I suspect was methamphetamine from her telltale meth sores. She was unable to focus for more than a few seconds, and her behavior seemed almost animal-like. Moreover, her lack of recent personal hygiene made an impression even with my perpetually-clogged sinuses.

I shelved the indignant stare for another day and another recipient.

After I left the store, no more than ten seconds passed before the drug-fueled woman marched out of Walgreen's. Given the short transaction time, I am assuming she threw a fist full of bills on the counter and told the cashier to keep the change. She hopped into a waiting silver Taurus, roared out of the parking lot across five lanes of traffic, and headed at a high rate of speed up Monroe Street.

Now, I have seen some inebriated people in my day, and I have run across a few folks whose level of stonedness was of an extra-terrestrial nature, but I have never seen someone so high that she no longer seemed human. Looking in this person's fidgety eyes was like staring at a rabid dog, and I only hope that she enters a detox clinic before her actions bring harm - even death - to those around her.


Anonymous said...


That is a NARSTY picture!!

historymike said...

Heh. "Narsty."

I also came across the word "ghettoiest" today at Glass City Jungle. Keep up the wordsmithiness, y'all.

mud_rake said...

Apparently that third war, the War on Drugs, isn't doing too well, either.

mud_rake said...


That's one of those rare English words that have 3 vowels in a row.

I prefer 'beautiest.'

microdot said...

I prefer "butt ugly". That was a favorite expression of my friend Prima from Brooklyn, a normally very nice hard working mother of two I worked with in an offset printing shop...all she had to do was get excited about something and I was on the floor laughing from her very expressive language.

As far as the woman you encountered, unfortunately, it is rare for someone so far gone to have the survival instincts to know when to stop. You wait for them to hit rock bottom and then the bottom turns into a black hole.

Mr. Macky said...

Drugs are baaaad, M'kay?

Barb said...

One of the national magazines, time or newsweek or both, wrote about the meth epidemic --and how it was bankrupting hospitals in some areas where they were not equipped to deal with the burns to people who caught fire making meth.

Dems usually think we shouldn't bother with a war on drugs --just let people destroy themselves at the expense of the hard-working taxpayers--affecting our children with their drug trafficking.

Robin said...

Have the Republicans really made any effort on the "war on drugs"?

historymike said...

Agreed, Microdot, that people have to bottom out before they will change.

Unfortunately, for some folks "bottoming out" equals death.

historymike said...


You partisan glasses do not work well in this scenario. There are plenty of Dems who support the stupid "War on Drugs," as well as Republicans and libertarians who are beginning to question its effectiveness.

We would be much better off as a society putting money into education and drug rehab than to spend much more locking up addicts and street-level dealers.

In addition, about all the "War on Drugs" has accomplished is to drive up the price of many street drugs. This leads to greater property crime (addicts stealing to pay for habits) and greater violent crime (inter-turf warfare).

It also leads to lucrative profits for investors and money-launderers. Better to reduce the profit motive or (GASP) legalize drugs and tax them to finance drug rehab programs.

historymike said...


The only results of the so-called "War on Drugs" have been the skyrocketing rates of incarceration and the huge tax bills we face to lock up 1-2% of the population.

That, plus the increases in street drug prices.

The Screaming Nutcase said...

Hey, let's not forget all the heroin poppies the Taliban are busy growing! I'd much rather have all that heroin money going to Pfizer than the Taliban any day.