Meth, a monster with many names

Posted: 19th September 2012 by Doc in Uncategorized
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Speed, Ice, Chalk, Crank, Fire, Glass, Crystal

I remember when we complained that our Oregon government was being too restrictive when they passed a law on the sale of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, two of the most common ingredients in cold medicines. HB 2485 was made into law in Sept. 2006; since then, only Mississippi has followed suit. The chatter around town in 2006 was that this was ineffective and would do little to curb the manufacture of methamphetamine and its users, and that we would have to suffer with colds. Strangely, it depends on how you look at numbers and their sources.
A 2010 Oregon State Police (OSP) Medical Examiner Department report states methamphetamine-related deaths in the state of Oregon were at 106 while heroin was at 90 and cocaine at 20, and 18 people died from using the drugs in combination.
The report lists Lane County with two heroin and 14 meth deaths; Linn with one cocaine and seven meth and one combined drug death; and Benton with one heroin and two meth deaths. These statistics seem small; but please read on, and don’t be distracted by HB 2485.
A May 2011 article by Maxine Bernstein of the Oregonian, quoted the then Lincoln County District Attorney Rob Bovett as saying, “Since Mexico banned pseudoephedrine five years ago, and due to the rigid Oregon restrictions, the bulk of meth production has moved to California, Arizona, Nevada and Washington. The drug organizations are paying people in these states to purchase pseudoephedrine products in quantities below legal thresholds from retail stores.”
A February 2012 report by Chris Stomberg and Arun Sharma of the Cascade Policy Institute, a research center of Oregon, questions the effectiveness of HB 2485. They cite numbers that indicate the decline from 467 meth lab incidents in 2004 to 12 in 2010 are the result of other factors because our neighboring states also declined similarly. “The exact mechanism behind this shared decline is not known, but would appear to reflect technological or market changes unrelated to the Oregon law. As a result, Oregonian’s pay more for cold medication.”
The Stomberg/Sharma report says there was a 23 percent decline in meth use nationally during the years 2006-2009, yet they note that ‘Oregon state law enforcement personnel indicate meth use to be Oregon’s greatest drug threat.’
So, who do you believe? Maybe both? Was the ephedrine law meaningful? What is important?
It is now 2012. Are we to deduct that less meth houses blowing up mean less meth use? Are we to assume that meth users don’t hurt anyone but themselves?
One thing is certain. A lot of people are affected by manufacture and sales, and meth use, along with the meth user is their family and then their immediate neighborhoods and communities. Meth is said to be tied to almost every property and identity theft crime in Oregon.
State Medical Examiner Dr. Karen Gunson was quoted by Berstein as saying, ‘. . . it‘s not too hard to jump off buildings or drive crazy while you‘re on meth.”
Here are some facts from a Wasco, OR publication:
· Meth use among Oregon females 17 and under has increased by 57 percent over the past five years.
· Addiction rate is said to be 99 percent for first-time users; and the life expectancy of a habitual user is five years.
· 73 percent of Wasco County child abuse cases are meth-related.
· Five pounds of toxic waste is produced in the manufacture of every one pound of meth.
Deputy Bret King of Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office has a project called the ‘Faces of Meth.’ He starts each of his presentations by saying, “I thank the men and women who, through their stories and photos, can share their experience with methamphetamine so you never have to try it yourself to know what it can do. I have seen and interviewed each of these people in jail. I hope that in seeing this you will make choices to not use methamphetamine and that I will never see you come inside my jail.”


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