Warren County meth problem continues

Posted: 2nd June 2011 by Doc in Uncategorized
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Alexis, Ill. — MONMOUTH — Early Tuesday morning four individuals were arrested for methamphetamine related charges near Monmouth.

State’s Attorney Chip Algren said meth is second in drug related arrests in Warren County, behind misdemeanor marijuana arrests. Algren said over the last 5-10 years meth has moved into the area.

Their own drug dealer
Algren said meth is popular in rural areas because addicts don’t need drug dealers.

“You can’t make cocaine,” Algren said comparing the two drugs.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Edwards said meth changed the War on Drugs.
“All this started years ago when people learned to create their own drugs at home,” he said.

Before meth, he said officers went after street dealers, so they could cut off the supply. With meth, if an addict wants to get the drug they can create it themselves.
“Everything in meth you can legally purchase,” Algren said.

Edwards said meth abuse travels in cycles. He said individuals form meth cooperatives where they assemble the different components. Then they cook the drugs together and share the results.

“The majority of methamphetamine is not made for resale,” Algren said.
Instead the meth cooperatives have to constantly create their own supply, which can lead to theft and other criminal activities.

Algren said within the last two years the state has done more to prevent meth production. For example, the state has a linked database that keeps track of all pseudoephedrine purchases statewide, the drug is one component in meth. In the past, meth addicts used to drive from town to town purchasing pseudoephedrine. Now if anyone purchases more than a certain amount of cold pills officials will know.

Algren said the limit is high, but it is possible for innocent individuals to accidentally go over the limit. If that happens, Algren said it is easy to differentiate between people trying to produce meth and those who are not.

Edwards agreed that it’s easy to detect meth abusers.

“We know who they are,” he said. “It’s just a matter of catching them in the act.”

Meth manufacturers have adapted to the laws and scrutiny.

Algren said the street value of Sudafed is between $30-$35 a box. Edwards said people who purchase sudafed for meth producers will be charged.

“That’s a crime in itself,” he said. “Even if you don’t go over the limit if you are buying for meth production then it is against the law.”

Manufacturers are also trying to produce meth in new ways to avoid getting caught. Edwards called the new style, “Shake and Bake.”

“While the method is difficult to detect it is more dangerous because during the chemical reaction the drug becomes volatile,” he said. “If not done properly it can result in a minor explosion and a rapid fire. It’s not only a risk to the person handling the drug.”

The Sheriff’s office has a case pending in which an individual allegedly burned his house down while manufacturing meth this March in Kirkwood.

And sometimes children live in the homes where meth is produced. Edwards said he remembers busting a house where the windows were all shut and an eight-year-old boy was sleeping inside.

An article entitled “Kids of Addicts Bear Scars as Meth Sweeps Rural America” in the March 7, 2004 Chicago Tribune said that children in meth homes face the damage of chemical contamination, dangerous living conditions and emotional problems.

“Children are paying an enormous toll as a meth epidemic sweeps through rural Illinois and much of the Midwest. Frightened, neglected kids are living in homes with parents who think only of their next high. Abused, abandoned children are pouring into the child-welfare system,” the article said. “In parts of southern Illinois, as many as half of child-welfare cases being handled by social service agencies are now meth-related, agency officials report. The children involved often come from squalid, dangerous homes, where toxic brews cook on portable burners set up in bedrooms, and chemicals are stored in refrigerators,”

“Nasty stuff”
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) said meth has several long-term consequences.

“Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, accompanied by functional and molecular changes in the brain,” according to their website.

Edwards said he has noticed how hard it is for people to quit the drug. He said he arrests many of the same people “over and over again.”

“Don’t ever get started,” he said. “It’s just not worth it — the physical problems it causes, years of running from the cops and the courts.”

The NIDA said meth abuse causes anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances and violent behavior. Some people will develop psychotic features, including paranoia, hallucinations and delusions. Chronic abuse irreparably damages the brain.

“Some of the effects of chronic methamphetamine abuse appear to be at least partially reversible. A recent neuroimaging study showed recovery in some brain regions following two years abstinence. However, function in other brain regions did not display recovery even after two years, indication that meth-induced changes are very long-lasting,” according to the NIDA.

Algren said meth is the most damaging drug he has seen, worse than heroin or cocaine.

“If you get into meth heavily it will kill you,” he said.

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