Ridding the area of illegal drugs is a lot like a gardener trying to remove all the weeds from all of their flower beds. By the time they’ve pulled the weeds from the last bed, new weed seeds have germinated in the first bed. Also new strains of weeds have come in. So it goes with illegal narcotics.
Two decades ago the craze was a high-purity methamphetamine called “ice.” The name comes from its appearance, large, clear crystals that resemble chunks of ice. It’s back in Lee County and the surrounding area.
“There was a shift from 20 years ago when there was a lot of ice, to about 10 years ago when all that shake and bake stuff was happening, up until 2010 when you couldn’t get the base ingredient, Pseudoephedrine, without a prescription,” said Capt. Marvis Bostick, commander of the North Mississippi Narcotics Unit (NMNU). “That killed everything for awhile, but now four years later, we’re back where we were 20 years ago, back to ‘ice.’”
From October 2009 to September 2010 the NMNU handled 591 meth cases, from October 2010 to September 2011 — 251, from October 2011 to September 2012— 238, from October 2012 to September 2013 — 273 and from October 2013* to June 2014 (not a full year) — 211 cases.
A law was passed in Mississippi in 2010 which required a prescription for the purchase of products containing pseudoephedrine.
“Some counties have higher meth rates then others. Take Tishomingo County. It’s easy for them to get Sudafed (one of the common pseudoephedrine sources), since they border Alabama,” Bostick said. “In Lee County it’s almost rare for us to have someone cooking meth anymore. The only time someone considers cooking is when they can’t find any ice.”
Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant. High doses or chronic use have been associated with increased nervousness, irritability, and paranoia. That’s one reason the NMNU is glad the cooking phase is nearly gone.
“We’ve got a certain amount of folks who are going to use dope. Being realistic we’d rather have them buying it, instead of cooking it, because of the dangers to kids and old folks when were cooking it, causing house fires and the like,” Bostick said.
This crystal methamphetamine reportedly comes from either California or Texas, and is transported to the area by transport trucks. The violators refer to the methamphetamine as “chrome.”
“We work to try to interrupt the supply, you know trying to get the higher folks who are bringing it in. But my priority is respond to local calls where drugs are in a neighborhood,” Bostick said. “Meth is just a problem for us. It doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. We are making headway. We just need the public’s help.”
The North Mississippi Narcotics Unit can be reached at 841-6583.
* Pontotoc and Monroe counties withdrew from the NMNU in October 2013.