Meth in the News
Professor Nicholas E Goeders
Regular readers of this Meth in the News column know that from time to time I have what I can only describe as epiphanies – moments of clarity when something becomes apparent to me for what is often the first time.
I recently had two!
Regular readers also know that I often say that if all my efforts help at least one person stop using methamphetamine – or even better, to not try meth for the first time – then it has all been worth it.
My first epiphany was the realization of another reason for writing this column and maintaining my website. It is to try and spread the word about the dangers of methamphetamine.
You may ask, isn’t that what you have said all along?
Well yes – and no. Yes, I have been trying to get the word out to try to convince people to quit using meth or not to start using meth in the first place.
But my epiphany was that it has been much more than that. I wanted to inform the general public about the dangers of meth, not just those who are or might use the drug.
And that’s no easy feat. There are many people who want the general public to believe that meth is no big deal. They say that not many people are using meth anyway, and for those who do, it’s not any different than using any other drug available by prescription.
Yet day after day I read that pounds of meth have been seized at the Mexican border or discovered when someone has been pulled over by police for a minor traffic violation. This suggests that lots of people must be using meth. What am I missing?
Furthermore, whenever I talk to current or former meth users, they always tell me that I would be amazed at how many people are actually using meth. And they say that I would also be amazed when I realized that meth users come from all walks of life.
I’d really like to hear from you. Is this really true?
You see, George Soros, and his Open Society Foundation, want the American public to believe that methamphetamine is nothing at all to worry about.
In 2014, a piece was published on the Open Society Foundation website titled, “Methamphetamine: Fact vs. fiction and lessons from the crack hysteria.” This article says that the concerns regarding the meth epidemic just represent hysteria. What problem? There’s no problem.
This, you must understand, was all based on a small study conducted in New York and published in the journal Addiction in 2012. This study recruited only 13 men (but no women) with a demographic makeup that did not reflect those of the people who actually use meth.
The racial makeup of these men, who were all recruited from New York City, was “one Asian, six Black, two Hispanic, four White” as described in the manuscript. This is not a representative sample my friends.
But let’s assume that the racial/gender makeup of the study is not a concern. What did the study involve?
The subjects came into the clinic for 10 sessions. The subjects were allowed to snort 50 mg of meth on Monday and 12 mg on Thursday of week one followed by 50 mg of d-amphetamine on Monday and 12 mg on Thursday of week two. They were given placebo (sugar) to snort on the Monday of week three.
However, the doses of the drugs were based on body weight (mg per 70 kg). So someone who weighed 120 pounds would have only received 38 and 9 mg of each drug, respectively. Seriously!
Not surprisingly, the 13 subjects reported that these low doses of d-amphetamine and methamphetamine were of equal value. And more importantly, they chose $20 over either drug as often as they chose the money over the placebo.
Nevertheless, this small study remains the basis for repeated articles stating as fact that crystal meth is no different from Adderall.
For example, in February of 2016, a report was published on theinfluence.org titled, “A Neuroscientist Explains How He Found Out Meth Is Almost Identical to Adderall.” Of course, this article described the same data from the same 13 men reported in that small 2012 study.
Then on March 7, 2016, AlterNet posted a report called “America Totally Misunderstands Speed: Here Are 5 Things You Should Know About It.”
I had never heard of AlterNet before, but it turns out that AlterNet is self-labeled as a “progressive activist site.” And posts on AlterNet are picked up and reposted by “sister” sites, such as salon.com, fem.news, and others.
The piece from theinfluence.org was itself also reposted on AlterNet on February 10, 2016.
It gets even better.
One of the major “foundations” that supports AlterNet is the Drug Policy Alliance. This is proudly posted on the AlterNet Foundation Support webpage.
The front webpage of the Drug Policy Alliance site boldly states, “The war on drugs is a failure and it’s time to bring it to an end. Join the movement today.”
But it does not end there.
On July 1, 2016, another report was published on a website named, CE: Collective Evolution. This report was titled, “Neuroscientist Claims Big Pharma’s Adderall Is Almost Identical To Crystal Meth & Explains Why.” Once again this article contained the same rhetoric as the other reports described above. This website also featured a video of an interview from All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC. This time, however, the report claimed that “numerous studies have found Adderall, a legal drug prescribed and used by millions, to be nearly identical to crystal meth.”
That’s not true. This report was still based completely on the same small study published in Addiction in 2012.
Apparently these people believe that if they just repeat the same lies over and over enough times, then the lies will eventually become accepted as fact.
But meth is no joke. It is a big deal! And people’s lives are at stake!
Finally, Jacob Sullum is a ‘contributor’ for Forbes magazine. Sullum wrote an op-ed piece in February of 2014 entitled, “Hyperbole Hurts: The Surprising Truth About Methamphetamine” that simply referred back to the Open Society Foundation “report” for the facts he used to make his claims.
Sullum is a graduate of Cornell University, where he majored in economics and psychology. His clever byline in Forbes reads “I cover the war on drugs from a conscientious objector’s perspective.”
Sullum’s resume regarding the neurobiology of drug addiction in no way compares with mine. But that does not matter. His weekly column is carried by newspapers across the United States. How can I compete with that exposure?
That was my second epiphany. How can I compete with the likes of George Soros, Forbes and MSNBC?
So maybe I don’t need to write this column each week. Maybe I should look for other ways to get the word out about meth – maybe I should find other venues.
You know, I was very hopeful when I made my impassioned plea on July 29, 2016 for ideas for developing a center to help former meth users become rehabilitated so that they could reenter society as sober and productive members. I expected to receive plenty of responses to my plea.
However, I received a total of two (2) responses – and thank God for those two. But is anyone even reading this column? Am I really the only one who cares?
But don’t worry – I am not giving up. People’s lives really are at stake – and they matter to me!
Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!
If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I still want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.