Wednesday, July 06, 2005

 

Big problem: Meth

I've been saying years than meth was going to be a major problem that we were going to have to deal with. It seems that I was right.
The crippling reach of methamphetamine abuse has become the nation's leading drug problem affecting local law enforcement agencies, according to a survey of 500 sheriff's departments in 45 states.

More than half of the sheriffs interviewed for a National Association of Counties survey released Tuesday said they considered meth the most serious problem facing their departments.

''We're finding out that this is bigger problem than we thought,'' said Larry Naake, executive director of the association. ''Folks at the state and federal level need to know about this.''
Ask anyone who has has the displeasure of dealing with someone on meth and they'll tell you that it's one nasty drug. The user is paranoid, delusional, and has enough energy to lay a few floors of carpet in a good sized hotel. Along with that, these "tweekers" as we used to call them, begin to believe that they are a reincarnation of Einstein and think they can conquer anything in the world. Thus begins the paranoia. It's easy to spot a tweeker, because not only are they in a perpetual state of motion, but they are usually chatty, twitchy, and strung-out to the point that they are sweaty and look like they need a good shower and a hot cup of coffee.

I can remember when the only meth problem we had to worry about in Southern California came from the high deserts, such as Palmdale and Lancaster, and the Inland Empire regions. But lately, I can vouch for the rise in use that Naake speaks of. In our bureau, I've seen at least three cases involving murders that involved some form of habitual meth use. And it's not hard to see how this stuff can lead to violent criminal activity. Here's some info from Wiki that breaks it down.
The 17th edition of The Merck Manual (1999) describes the effects of heavy use of methamphetamines in these terms: "Continued high doses of methamphetamine produce anxiety reactions during which the person is fearful, tremulous, and concerned about his physical well-being; an amphetamine psychosis in which the person misinterprets others' actions, hallucinates, and becomes unrealistically suspicious; an exhaustion syndrome, involving intense fatigue and need for sleep, after the stimulation phase; and a prolonged depression, during which suicide is possible" (p. 1593). Depending on delivery method and dosage, a dose of methamphetamine will potentially keep the user awake with a feeling of euphoria for periods lasting from 2 to 24 hours.
Dealing with these people is like battling zombies in Night of the Living Dead.

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