A cautionary tale. Drugs don’t care if you are a Phi Beta Kappa Georgetown law student like Marc Gersen. He got addicted to meth, got in way over his head, thought he was smarter than the cops, kept dealing after they raided his apartment, and now he’s going to prison for four years after being caught with 500 grams of meth. So much for the law career.
Once addiction starts it becomes self-perpetuating and all-consuming and who you were before becomes irrelevant. 500 grams is 17 ounces. That’s a lot of meth and not casual dealing to pay for your own habit.
Addicts always think they’re too clever to get caught. This goes with the territory.That he kept on dealing after the police raid shows how deep the addiction had its claws in him.
I have been there”¦ Meth nearly took me down many years ago.
Portugal legalized personal use of all drugs some years ago and drug use there is now lower than in the rest of the EU. This is the best way to deal with drug problems. Deciminalize drugs and insure that treatment is readily available. Not only is this the most humane way of dealing with the problem, it’s also the best in terms of public safety.
The Velvet Underground’s song about meth.
White light goin’ messin’ up my brain
White light gonna drive me insane
White heat tickle me down to my toes
White light I said now goodness knows, do it.
I just watched Breaking Bad for the first time. It’s excellent writing and acting, to be sure, but they’re all dirtbags, aren’t they? Besides, real-life meth cookers and dealers are generally sleazier and more treacherous than portrayed on the show, and are usually strung out too.
So, I don’t get Breaking Bad unless you want to cop vicarious thrills about a world you know nothing about. Me, I was strung out on meth once and that world holds no glamour or romance for me. I’m glad I got out alive.
Old Crow Medicine Show. Methamphetamine
Times they ain’t like nothing they used to be
From Rocky Mountain to Northeast Tennessee
Where the river flows with a dusty cold disease
And the babies whine ’cause they can’t find nothing to eat
But mama she ain’t hungry no more
She’s waiting for a knock on the trailer door
Its gonna rock you like a hurricane
It’s gonna rock you till you lose sleep
It’s gonna rock you till you’re out of a job
It’s gonna rock you till you’re out on the street
It’s gonna rock you till you’re down on your knees
It’s gonna have you begging pretty please
It’s gonna rock you like a hurricane
A 23 year old Fresno, CA mother shot her two toddlers, cousin, husband, and herself after smoking meth. It’s called amphetamine psychosis, and it’s beyond ugly.
The Central Valley of California is a hub for meth distribution. Rural areas are good for cooking meth in and some fertilizers are precursors. I-5 and State Rt 99 are major north-south arteries and go through the Central Valley.
“Once people who are on meth become psychotic, they are very dangerous,” said Dr. Alex Stalcup, who treated Haight Ashbury heroin users in the 1960s, but now researches meth and works with addicts in the San Francisco Bay Area suburbs. “They’re completely bonkers; they’re nuts. We’re talking about very extreme alterations of normal brain function. Once someone becomes triggered to violence, there aren’t any limits or boundaries.”
It’s called tweak now not speed but what Canned Heat says still stands. I was addicted to meth for a couple of years in the late 60’s. Speed kills.
Canned Heat – Amphetamine Annie
Wanna tell you all a story, about this chick I know.
They call her Amphetamine Annie, and she’s always shovelin’ snow.
I sat her down and told her, I told her crystal clear
I don’t mind you gettin’ high but there’s one thing you should fear
Your mind might think it’s flyin’ baby on those little pills
But you ought to know it’s dyin’, cause – speed kills!
But Annie kept on speedin’, her health was gettin’ poor
She saw things in the window, she heard things at the door
Her mouth was like a grindin’ mill, her lips where cracked and sore
Her skin was turnin’ yellow, I just couldn’t take it no more
She thought her mind was flyin’ on those litte pills
She didn’t know it was going down fast, cause – speed kills!
The Arizona Meth Project is trying hard, and succeeding at, reducing first-time meth usage by young people “through public service messaging, public policy, and community outreach.”Â It does so primarily by using modern advertising techniques to create extremely hard-hitting 30 second TV ads with a core message of “Not Even Once.”
In an ad titled Just Once, three teenage girls are giggling, snorting meth for the first time in a bedroom. The voiceover from one girl says “I’ll going to try meth just once.” Soon, she’s stealing money from her mother’s purse. “I’ll going to steal just once.” Then, as she’s walking off with a sleazy guy, “I’ll going to sleep with him for meth just once.” Finally, she’s crashed out on a bed and her baby sister is stealing money from her purse, “I’ll going to try meth just once.”
The Arizona Meth Project has many ads like this which you can view on its website or on YouTube. It is part of the national group, The Meth Project, which is active in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, and Wyoming, as well as Arizona. Its Arizona site says on the home page that Arizona is #1 one for meth usage by high school students, and given the reliability of the Meth Project and its tireless work, I’m sure that’s true.
The ads are effective and have shown that meth usage drops dramatically in areas where the ads run. Indeed, in Dec. 2010 Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said (PDF) meth usage in Arizona had dropped 65% between 2006 and 2010 and cited the Arizona Meth Project as one reason why, saying:
“The new data show that Arizona’s commitment to educating teens about the risks of using meth is paying off. Thanks to the Arizona Meth Project and community programs around the state, we are seeing dramatic decreases in teen methamphetamine use. With the supply of meth increasing as a result of trafficking by the Mexican drug cartels, prevention efforts are even more critical to our success in overcoming Arizona’s methamphetamine problem.”
Meth usage is more prevalent in rural areas than cities. Abandoned buildings in remote areas can be used for meth labs, plus one of the main precursors to cook meth is anhydrous ammonia, a common fertilizer often stored in large quantities in tanks. But of course, meth made in the country certainly finds its way to cities too.
Meth makes you extremely paranoid and can result in hyper-aggression as well as psychosis. It rots your teeth, leaving many meth users with blackened or crumbling teeth which will require major dental surgery. Â It is highly addictive and will take you down faster than heroin or cocaine, as the Faces of Meth shows with their before and after mug shots of arrestees as they spiraled into addiction. Sometimes the after photo is just a few months later too, and shows a formerly healthy person now gaunt, with lesions on their face, looking years older.
This is not an abstract issue for me. I was addicted to meth for a couple of years in the late 1960’s and managed to escape with my teeth and brain intact. Too many don’t. The Meth Project is saving lives. And if you or someone you know is addicted, the best thing you can do is get them to Narcotics Anonymous or (since most addicts are also alcoholic) Alcoholics Anonymous.
I went to a experimental college in the late 1960’s. There were some great times and it was also awash in drugs. I just got back in touch with a friend from then.
He said, I remember you, you were the one everyone said did way too much meth. I said, But I never shot meth, I was afraid of needles. He replied, Yeah, all our friends who used needles then are dead.
Most of us from that college who survived have been in recovery programs for years. I’m fine now – and am impressed with what The Meth Project does. They use modern advertising techniques to create hard-hitting, effective ads aimed at getting kids to never take that first hit of meth. They’re doing great work, and have demonstrable results. Check them out.