Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Future of Meth

Will meth ever be stopped? This is a question that nobody can answer but can only hope to answer with a single, powerful word; Yes! The battle against meth has really only just begun and needs strong support and time to see results. This battle on meth is one that is going to take more than brute strength to conquer; it will take knowledge and many skilled people in their fields to really do something about it. This is why so many states are finally starting to crack down and get smarter about the amount of pharmaceuticals are being bought around the country.

For example, officials in Oregon aren’t wasting any time; they are going straight to the source and gaining information from “meth dealers, users, and “smurfers” (the people who go from store to store buying Sudafed and other pseudoephedrine-based products for cooks).” Each one of these people who have a considerable amount of time dealing with meth all know that the only way to possibly slow down low level meth operations would be to limit the amount of these over the counter drugs they could get a hold of. The state of Oklahoma then passed a law in 2004 that restricted the sale of any product containing pseudoephedrine, which now had to be sold from behind the counter, and people also had to show ID to the pharmacist who in turn would keep monthly records on purchases. This law took off with about 30 other states that implemented the restriction of the sale of pseudoephedrine. In addition, “Since the law has passed, there has been an 80 percent to 90 percent reduction in lab seizures.” That is a huge drop in lab seizures and just proves to show how crippled the low-level meth labs have become.

The new insight into the world of meth is nothing short of new. Since the year 2004 when this idea was first implemented, other ideas have emerged and law enforcement has been cracking down on drugs ever since. The war on drugs is something that must be taken very seriously because it is something that is posing a real threat to the United States itself and its citizens. Other people who are pushing the legislation to limit the amount of pseudoephedrine sold include Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator James Talent. In addition, “A report by the National Association of Counties released recently, said that nearly 60 percent of the counties in the nation consider meth to be their biggest drug problem.” There is no doubt about how big the meth epidemic has become and needs to be stopped.

In conclusion, with certain laws being made to limit the amount of products available to meth makers, the less meth labs will be set up. These labs need to continuously be shut down and destroyed because of the amount of toxins they emit. The war on meth is something that is going to take decades to overcome, but law enforcement and the government are starting to make huge impacts on the way the drug is made and sold on the streets. We need to continue to push the war on drugs if we want to get anything accomplished; otherwise, meth has already won.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

National Price of Meth

The cost of meth is something that is very hard to measure and especially hard to measure at the national level. The use of meth is spreading and because of this spread, more and more federal money is needed to help combat and take care of the addicts of this drug. A somewhat recent study from 2005 states that, “the national price of methamphetamine abuse imposed costs of $23.4 billion in 2005.” That alone is an enormous number and essentially comes from tax dollars. This toll is almost as high as heroin and could be actually higher. It is very hard to find an exact number, but this amount seems to be as close as we can get. It is impossible to look at and find all of the factors that must be accounted for which include the burdens imposed on families and friends and the burden that takes place on the children of the addict.

Meth has also been the drug that has killed many people in 2005 and was close to being the primary cause of close to 900 deaths. Meth is also a drug that has spread over the years not only from one place in the United States but all over it. Meth has left no good in its wake; it wreaked havoc on addicts and families alike. Federal surveys also state that, “the share of Americans using the drug has stabilized, at about 1 percent of the population over the age of 12, which is far higher than the rate for heroin but half the rate for cocaine.” This 1 percent equals out to around 400,000 American addicts.

These studies on the cost of meth to the nation were really an effort to study the effects of addiction in relation to the quality of life it has on addicts. These factors included, but were in no way limited to poor health, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations that tended to shrink what the addict had going for them and the pleasure they once felt from the drug also drops over time. In this case, the user feels the need to use more of the drug and increase each dose to enable them to feel the same high they once felt. That high can no longer be obtained and never lasts as long as the first time. Therefore, once an addict is addicted, that is when the use of meth increases and the individual really starts to go down-hill.

The study also states other costs which include,
“$4.2 billion in crime and criminal justice , $904 million for endangered children put into foster care, $687 million in lost productivity, $545 million for drug treatment, $351 million for healthcare, and $61 million for injuries and deaths at exploding meth labs and for cleaning up the toxic waste they produce.”

The meth epidemic is really just a drain on society and finances alike and needs to really be taken care of. That $23.4 billion each year is something that we shouldn’t have to deal with and that is just for meth. If each drug is taken into account it can essentially be tripled or more by the financial price and burden they produce. If there were proper plans implemented in today’s society, I do not believe that this problem would have gotten so out of control.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Meth and Sentencing

Whenever the issue of drugs or drug usage is brought up into the court system, certain sentencing guidelines always apply. Sentencing guidelines have come a long ways and in my opinion are far from perfect. Although sentencing has evolved into treatment plans and meetings instead of incarceration, sometimes the only option left is to incarcerate. The Drug Policy Alliance Network states that, “More than 19,000 methamphetamine users are treated each year in California under the state’s treatment-instead-of-incarceration initiative.” This shows the number of people that need programs to get through their drug problems and the state needs to give it to them. Along with these programs come better citizens and less people in prison for drug related crimes. Obviously these programs do not work for everybody and some people just need to be incarcerated for what they have done.

Meth is a highly popular and growing drug that is rapidly taking over all other drugs on the streets. It is easy to make and cheap to buy, and that is why its addiction is growing. Along with the addiction level come the penalties for using the drug. As more people use the drug, more penalties and laws come out to fight against it. For example, “Senate Bill 2024 increases methamphetamine sentencing to the same as crack cocaine: 5 grams meth will bring a mandatory sentence of 5 years and 50 grams meth has a mandatory sentence of 10 years.” This bill may sound nice on the outside, but once it is examined, the real consequences can be seen. This bill will only affect the low-level meth offenders and states that possession itself can result in long prison sentencing. This will bring continuous prison overcrowding and will then cost the taxpayers to house them. Typically we are talking about incarcerating a non-violent, stay at home drug user who poses no threat to anybody except himself and now we are throwing him in prison because of some lousy drugs. To me, this makes absolutely no sense and is a complete waste of money.

There is always another side to every argument that emerges at some point. The Sentencing Project is a great place for information and arguments alike. The Sentencing Project states that, “Only 0.2 percent of Americans are regular users of methamphetamine – four times as many use cocaine and 30 times as many use marijuana regularly.” This goes to show that we are just incarcerating something we don’t like, not necessarily something that is bad or “taking over” America. All other statistics dealing with meth are either declining in some aspects or staying about the same as a couple years ago. I do believe that in some places meth is more readily available and that is where the “epidemic” is located, but do we really need to raise the bar on sentencing to accomplish something? It just seems like the wrong way to go in helping people that have a drug problem. Throwing them in prison will not help them cope with the addiction they suffer from, but only make it worse. Without the proper programs and resources to deal with drug abuse effectively, the issue and problem will never have a chance to go away.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Meth Trafficking

The issue of meth production and trafficking is becoming a major and seemingly uncontrollable factor in today’s society. This is because meth is being both domestically produced and imported into the United States once it is already processed. The Anti-Meth site states that this is because of two problems: “Steadily increasing importation of methamphetamine into the region by organized groups and clandestine manufacturing of methamphetamine by hundreds of users/dealers in small “mom and pop” labs.” This statement shows that many people are just producing this drug in their own homes or apartments and distributing the drug from there. This is considered the low time drug dealer and smuggler because of the low amount of money they receive in return. The real time smugglers and traffickers are the ones who traffic the drug into the United States from some other country, such as Mexico.

These Cartels and smuggling group’s ship in huge quantities of meth and the loads can be priced at over fifty million dollars street value for one shipment. In order to accomplish this task, the cartels must have many different people working for them in high places. The Department of Justice labels the groups and functions as follows:

“ –Cartel heads make the major decisions, they retail overall authority over land, sea, and air movement of all drugs, establish major front operations, and facilitate cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine movement to major U.S. markets.
-Division chiefs, the working arm of the Federation, are responsible for all stages of smuggling into the United States.
-Gatekeepers, control major ports of entry, facilitate trafficking on both sides of the border, and will also move drugs for other gangs for a price.
-Family syndicates, small time brokers at the bottom of the structure, operate along the border and in the United States and are employed to off-load, transport, store, and distribute drugs.”

This in itself shows the level of authority and command that these traffickers are using and the power they have to control the drug trade. If the smugglers want to get the drug into the country, then they will hire and do whatever it takes to get the drug in.

The price itself of meth is probably why most of these traffickers are willing to risk their lives. As stated by the Anti-Meth site, “$25 per ¼ gram, $100 per gram and $1700 per ounce…experts estimate that one ounce of meth equals about 110 meth hits.” The amount of money involved in this drug is unbelievable and is only getting cheaper because of the amount that is being produced. With these numbers dropping, the number of users will increase because the availability is increasing at such an astounding rate. This drug is becoming an epidemic that must be taking care of.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Effects of Meth on the User

The effects of meth is so widely varied that it is hard to tell what might exactly happen to a person who uses meth. The effects themselves really depend on the amount the user is putting into their body. There are several long and short-term effects that will be talked about within this blog. These effects need to be talked about and taken literally because the effects far outweigh the benefits of taking this dangerous and life-destroying drug.

To start with, the short-term effects of this drug are nothing compared to the long-term effects that I will be getting to. Meth itself makes the user feel an increased amount of wakefulness and physical activity while decreasing their appetite. This is one of the main reasons for people to start using meth in the first place. Meth can also create extreme problems with the cardiovascular system which would include a rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure just to name a few. These small time effects are just a few that lead to the long-term effects that really shows how addicted a person has become to meth.

In addition, the long-term effects of this drug come with many consequences which include addiction. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s website states that, “chronic abusers exhibit symptoms such as anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behavior…also a number of psychotic features such as paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions.” These effects really define what a meth user becomes and are the signs of a long-term and chronic user. With these effects out in the open, who in their right mind would want to use such a destructive drug as meth?

These users start to rely on the drug for different reasons such as weight loss, instant energy, or even just as an escape from reality. Although, the longer they use this drug, the more dependant they become and the larger amount needed to feel the same high as before. Another effect as described on the Anti-Meth Site is that, “Methamphetamine use increases self-confidence, which often ignores the reality of personal limitations…users may experience “Superman Syndrome,” in which they attempt to perform tasks they are incapable of performing.” This in itself can become very dangerous for the user and the people around them.

Meth is a drug that needs to be looked at very carefully and needs to be educated about properly. It is becoming a much bigger problem than many have anticipated and is becoming very dangerous for our youth and society alike. With proper education about the effects and negative aspects of this drug, maybe more people will start making the right decisions when it comes to taking and using illegal narcotics.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Faces of Meth

Methamphetamine (Meth) users vary widely in ages and profiles but seem to have two basic profiles. As noted by law enforcement and treatment providers the profiles consist of, “students, both high school and college age and white, blue-collar workers and unemployed persons in their 20s and 30s.” With this being stated, the use of this drug is also equally divided between males and females and is readily available in both urban and rural areas. There are many different reasons for using meth, including to lose weight, work extra shifts, increase physical and mental performance and so on. The users are then quickly hooked on the drug and are not able to function like they used to.

Most users these days use meth because of the powerful and intense amount of energy they get from it. It creates a euphoric and energetic feeling that the user can do or overcome anything. For example, “A cocaine high lasts about 15-20 minutes, while a meth high lasts 2-14 hours.” This alone is one of the main reasons people prefer meth over other drugs. Along with this statement, teens are using meth because they see it as a safer drug and longer lasting than other drugs. It can also be easier to buy than cocaine because it is less expensive and more accessible on the streets.

Meth also does certain life-changing things to the human body, such as users begin to act violent, anxious, confused, show paranoia, have visual and auditory hallucinations, delusions, and even think about committing suicide or homicide. Users of this drug also seem to have major medical complications because of the toxins and chemicals that are used to make the drug. Those chemicals get into the blood stream and the body naturally tries to get rid of the toxins. When this happens, users start to scratch their skin and create open sores. When this process occurs, meth users call it “Crank Bugs”, because of the way the itching is painful and persistent.

Furthermore, meth can even be made by the people who use it. Like stated in the earlier blog, meth is made by combining many toxins and chemicals and can be mixed together and baked in your own home. It’s obviously not a safe or healthy thing to do because of the high level of explosive elements used in making meth. This is a huge topic that must be looked at from several different angles, but with the topic of meth users covered, the doors can be opened for the rest of the story.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Today's Drug of Choice: Methamphetamine

In today’s world, illegal narcotics seem to take over the lives of many Americans and are tending to take over the United States. These drugs are used in many ways and effect different parts of our body’s in different ways as well. One of the most addicting and widely used of these illegal narcotics is methamphetamines. Methamphetamines or Meth is widely used among various ages in today’s society and is becoming a fast growing and rampant spreading drug. This is because it can be made and distributed from inside homes and apartments. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) states that, “Today, methamphetamine is second to alcohol and marijuana as the drug used most frequently in many Western and Midwestern states.”

Meth is an extremely addictive drug and is a central nervous system stimulant. Because of Meth’s addictive qualities, it is only available by a doctor and cannot be refilled. With this said, “Methamphetamine is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant that can be injected, snorted, smoked, or ingested orally.” Meth itself comes from either one of two places; foreign or domestic Meth labs or from small illegal Meth labs located in everyday apartments and homes. The small Meth labs are the most dangerous because they endanger not only the people in the labs but also neighbors and the environment. The explosive characteristics of the chemicals used when making meth can blow up a building or a block depending on how many chemical agents were inside the building.

To further explore the uses, users, effects (both short and long term), trafficking, and drug laws that have risen from this drug, more research must be done. This is a significant topic that has grown very rapidly over the years and needs to be stopped somehow. Hopefully this blog will help you better understand the drug itself and keep you informed about what it can do to a person and society.