Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Meth- The Next Bad Thing?

Some are reporting problems viewing the above video, if you can not watch it from my blog try clicking here to try and view it from the you tube site.

The Santa Fe Reporter's Nathan Dinsdale did a piece in this weeks issue which attempts to look at the Methamphetamine problem in New Mexico and separate some of the hype from the facts. He does a pretty good job at looking at the hype and truths in the Meth problem. The basis for the story is the July 1, 2006 start of two new laws in New Mexico. The first makes pseudoephedrine a controlled substance just like heroin and cocaine. The law requires consumers to provide a licensed pharmacist with government-issued identification, sign a sales log recording their purchase and limits their purchases to nine grams of pseudoephedrine within a 30-day period. The law expands on New Mexico's previous requirement that products containing pseudoephedrine be sold from behind the counter and is intended to cut down production of home grown Meth.

The second new law expands the definition of a drug-free school zone to include private and parochial institutions while enhancing the criminal penalties for trafficking, producing and possessing Methamphetamine with the intent to sell. The basic sentence for Meth trafficking and production will increase from three years to nine years and subsequent convictions will result in a first-degree felony.

Both are good laws although I have to admit when my allergies were really bothering me last month, I went into Walgreens to buy Tylenol Allergy and Sinus which seems to work well for me. I always buy night time and day time and since you take two pills at a time a 12 pack only lasts 6 days. I tried to buy two of each (night and day) and they would not let me. I bought one of each and then had two come back in a week for a new batch. Once again a law for bad guys which inconveniences the rest of us. It is a small price to pay for keeping our communities safe.

Most Meth in Santa Fe County comes from Mexico. Meth use is not prevalent in Santa Fe County and as the story points out Heroin is a much larger killer of Santa Fe County Residents. In the Southern part of Santa Fe County Meth labs are more prevalent. This is primarily due to the proximity to Albuquerque and the rural nature of the Edgewood area. This allowed for Meth labs to go unnoticed for longer periods of time and for easy transportation of the drugs to the Albuquerque area. Northern Santa Fe County and Rio Arriba have the largest number of heroin overdose deaths in the country per capita. That is why this area is designated by the United States as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. At this time there are twenty eight H.I.D.T.A. area's in the United States. Along with the designation comes extra federal funds to help combat the drug problem.

Methamphetamine is a particularly dangerous drug in many ways. Those who manufacture Meth put themselves, many times their children and other household members as well as the whole neighborhood at risk. The manufacture of meth is dangerous and highly explosive. For each pound of finished methamphetamine, seven pounds of waste is produced. This waste is toxic. Ingredients include substances which can cause chemical burns or can easily ignite.

Meth use can cause heart palpitations, nausea, damage to blood vessels in the brain, shortness of breath, mental confusion, malnutrition, anorexia, severe anxiety and depression. A more severe manifestation of chronic toxicity is a state of paranoia closely resembling paranoid schizophrenia. Psychotic symptoms include visual and auditory hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and delusions of parasites and bugs in the skin. Continued use may lead to permanent damage to the brain or death.

"Before" and "after" photos of Theresa Baxter.
Copyright Multnomah County Sheriff

So, as we can all see Meth is a really bad thing, but does the threat live up to all the political hype? Yes and No, The awareness and measures taken to keep the ingredients out of criminals hands has helped to decrease the growth rate from what it probrably would have been had we not become alarmed and begun to take action. However, it is probrably not the greatest drug related threat to our nation. I believe the large media and political attention it has received has also made this a taboo drug much like heroin use. This means that it has not become mainstream and is more feared by the casual user of other drugs such as Marijuana and Cocaine. The before and after images like Theresa Baxter (photo above) and others on the "faces of meth" web site certainly have struck fear into casual or recreational users for even trying the deadly drug.

We must continue to battle drug addictions and illegal sales and we must use equal parts prevention, enforcement and the third part which is most lacking, treatment. While I don't believe funding for enforcement should be reduced I do whole heartedly believe funding for treatment and sobering centers should be greatly increased. One last note: While the Republicans and the current Republican Administration and Congress try to portray themselves as pro law enforcement and pro drug war the truth is that funding is at its lowest levels ever for C.O.P.S. Programs, H.I.D.T.A. initiatives and almost all other police and drug war initiatives. Maybe I wouldn't complain if the money was diverted to treatment programs but grants and funding for treatment programs has also been cut every year the Bush administration has been in office.

Meth Links.

Santa Fe Reporter : The next bad thing

Faces of Meth, Multnomah County Sheriff

Frontline: The Meth Epidemic, How it Destroys the Body

Crystal Meth Recovery and Treatment Website

High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Website

National Drug Threat Assessment 2005 Summary Report


concerned parents said...

can meth be sprinkled into a marajuana cigarette? Or can marajuana be soaked in meth and dried out, like other drugs such as fermaldahyde (sp?) and heroin?
I tried to read about it and don't know what fentanyl (sp)is, what is it?

Sheriff Greg Solano said...

Meth can be laced into a cigarette or marijuana and while there have been sporadic reports of this primarily in Canada, there have not been many seizures of Meth laced cigarettes or Marijuana cigarettes. They would not be soaked and dried out as the crystallization of the liquid form is part of the process for making Crystal Meth.

Michelle Meaders said...

"The first makes pseudoephedrine a controlled substance just like heroin and cocaine. The law requires consumers to provide a licensed pharmacist with government-issued identification, sign a sales log recording their purchase and limits their purchases to nine grams of pseudoephedrine within a 30-day period."

Aren't there different levels of controlled substances? I don't think you can get heroin and cocaine just by signing for them.

Sheriff Greg Solano said...

There are four different levels called Schedules in the law. Heroin and Cocaine are a Schedule 1 drug which is classified as a drug to which there is no legal or medical use.

Anonymous said...

I Know that quitting an addiction can be hard, but if your truly wanting to get away from the pain and suffering the drugs are putting in you then you need to fight back against the drugs. Say NO to the drugs that got you in a headlock. You need to search within you, to pull that strength outta you to not give in to the drugs. Tell yourself that you can quit and you will quit because you are the boss of yourself right? Your not gonna let some stupid drug take control of your life and tell you what to do. For more information on how to quit the addiction click this link. drug rehab

Jason said...

Narconon Arrowhead is a holistic, pro-active and all natural drug and alcohol rehabilitation center that effectively handles all aspects of addiction and allows an individual to achieve life long sobriety be happy, productive and successful. This rehabilitation center focuses on not only handling the physical aspects of addiction with a state of the art sauna detoxification program that completely diminishes any and all cravings, but the psychological and emotional issues as well. This approach to addiction has produced excellent results and allowed individuals to flourish and prosper. It's too bad individuals don't get here before they od or have to go to prison....they would still be alive and free today living a happy, productive and successful drug free life. Don't let drugs and alcohol continue to dominate your deserve better. Reach out for help....there are solutions available. Methamphetamine kills thousands of people every year and is a huge social problem. Do something about it and be pro active and fight this terrible epidemic. In regards to the concerned parents comment, fentanyl is an opiate.