Speed, Meth, Crystal, Crank, Tweak, Go-Fast, Ice, Glass, Uppers, Black Beauties
by Marya Tyler
September 27, 2003
Users can expect anxiety, paranoia, delusions and users can expect to become addicted and expect a permanently dumbed-down brain.
Rolling Stone Magazine looked into methamphetamine in its January 23, 2003, Issue 914, "Plague in the Heartland" by Paul Solotaroff. It states, "In the five years since methamphetamine entrenched itself in this former logging town north of Seattle (Granite Falls), (Chief of Police) Allen's work life has consisted of responding to one outrage after another, each more numbing than the last. The month before, there were the tweakers (as meth users are known) who clubbed to death seventeen newborn calves. Before that, it was the boy, high out of his mind, who fancied his thick skull bulletproof and blew much of it off with a .25."
The article describes the squalor and stench law enforcement officials find in meth addict homes, and the message is echoed by local law enforcement personnel, who have located at least five methamphetamine labs on Revilla Island in the last year. Ketchikan drug investigator Officer Todd Moquin describes the scene, "We've never kicked in the door of a drug dealer's house and said, 'I wish I lived here.' What we find is animal feces on the floor, a toilet that doesn't flush and hasn't flushed for who-knows-how-long and they're still using it. And then there's the users-scabs, injection marks, ulcerations all over their bodies, poor health in general, sometimes they are walking skeletors. They've lost interest in everything except how to get more of the drug."
The Granite Falls Chief of Police describes the situation in the Rolling Stone article: "Your teeth will fall out, your skin'll scab off, and a month from now you'll be coughing up chunks of your lung--but hey, what the hell? Party on, right?"
According to the article, "Walk into a drugstore in Washington state and you'll find the (nonprescription cold drugs which contain ephedrine) behind thick glass, padlocked like vintage scotch; taped to the sales case is a yellow sign limiting shoppers to two packs a day. This is the result of one of several new state laws aimed at keeping meth ingredients out of the hands of cooks... State officials have also put restrictions on the sale of compounds such as anhydrous ammonia. ... Get a drop of the stuff on you and it will burn through the skin, singeing right down to the bone."
"Methheads either start dumb or get there fast," says the County drug prevention coordinator. "the solvents used to make it literally gouge out their brain. After only a couple weeks, tweakers suffer permanent brain damage. And that's not counting the neurochemical part. Meth addicts can't make dopamine anymore, which sends them into such a deep depression, they want to kill themselves or the people around them."
Few users escape its grip. One who did, and who now spends her life warning others to stay away from meth, is quoted in the article: "It's impossible to overstate the hold it (meth) has...It addicts folk, on average, the third time they use it and permanently hijacks their judgment. They don't sleep for weeks, they defecate on the floor ad let their kids starve and go naked."
Drug treatment centers see users at their worst. "The true hell starts when they try to get sober and find that meth has stripped out their higher functioning, much of which won't come back. They can't process words, can't think abstractly, can't in fact, remember what they did five minutes ago. Worse, their psychic skin has been peeled away and they're indescribably raw. As we speak, there's a twelve-year-old girl down the hall, curled up on the floor, screaming, 'I can't take it, I can't take it.'" According to a doctor who works in rehab, "As a rule, you have to wait at least six months before they can begin to understand what's being said to them."
Drug investigator Todd Moquin of the City of Ketchikan says, "People who have a drug abuse problem will go to any extreme to continue their habit-break in, steal, rob. We're called to fight calls and a lot of times it's someone beating up someone else because of drugs. By the time we get the call, the drugs are long gone and no one is willing to say, "They beat me up and stole my drugs," so the drugs don't show up in the police record. It shows up on the police record as a fight." The sites where they cook the stuff have to be torn down by a professional. It's all toxic chemicals-battery acid and other chemicals that combined are even more toxic. The last lab was the size of a cardboard box and took the Drug Enforcement Administration Office $16,000 to clean up.