Production in Rural Areas
Methamphetamine use is a growing problem in the United States. It is known as one of the nation’s most dangerous drugs. The abuse of this drug is high, but it is especially high in rural areas. According to the DEA in 2008 there were 6,783 meth lab seizures, many of which were in rural areas. Despite that fact that, that number is still very high, in 2006 there were 7,347 seizures and in 2005 there were 12,619 seizures. Even though there is a slight decline in these numbers, meth is still highly toxic and very addicting.
Laws Trying to Help
In 2005 there was a bill passed to help stop the alarming meth statistics from growing. The law was called Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act. This bill was passed to help stop the production, distribution, and use of methamphetamine. This was also passed to help govern the retail of cough and cold medications that contain the chemicals that are used to make meth.
Hospital Visits Growing
An estimated 10.4 million Americans of the age of 12 or older have used methamphetamine at least once in their lifetimes.(ONDCP) And over 15,000 deaths annually have been associated with stimulants in the US.(APA) In 2004, the number of methamphetamine treatment admissions to Emergency Departments increased to greater than 150,000, coming to 8 percent of all drug related admissions.(NIDA)
Children Caught in the Middle
In 2005, nearly 6.2% of high school seniors reported using methamphetamine at least once. Between the years of 1994-2004 the number of 12-17 years admitted to using and going to treatment for methamphetamine use more than doubled. It’s a sad statistic to have to look at, but in 2004, in the US, there were 8,000 meth labs that were seized and among those labs there were more than 3,000 children taken by Child Welfare.
Dangers of Meth Labs
There are many different ways and ingredients that you can use to make meth. One way that was discovered by the Germans during WW2 was the method using anhydrous ammonia. They called it the “Nazi “method. The manufacture of meth creates toxic fumes and hazardous waste from the by-products. These by products can poison water, pollute lakes, permeate walls and flooring and can cause fires and explosions. The production of a pound of meth creates 5-6 pounds of toxic waste. Many people end up in the hospital every year from meth lab explosions and fires.
Production of Meth
A program in Nebraska called the MethWatch is used to train retail sales personnel to recognize people that are purchasing large quantities or shoplifting products that are used to make meth. Some of these items are:
• Cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine
• Lithium batteries
• Rock salt
• Paint thinner
• Drain cleaner
• Heet gasoline additives
• Aluminum foil
• Matchbooks (red phosphorus)
Believe it or not it only takes $1,000 worth of ingredients to make $20,000 worth of meth. Police say that the price of a dose of cocaine that would keep a person high for 20 minutes, will buy a person enough meth to keep them high for a day or 2.
Meth and Crime
Meth abuse is causing the justice system some serious money. In 2005 the National Association of Counties released results from a survey of law enforcement officials from 45 states. This survey reported that the Meth-induced crime was increasing and more than half that said that
Meth was their county’s biggest drug problem.
• National Associate of Counties reported meth is still the number one drug problem in a 2007 survey
• Enforcing the meth laws, the criminal justice system as spent $4.2 billion, representing the second largest category
In the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health the estimated number for dependent meth users was 270,348 which is an 11% increase from 2005. With this number increasing this also brings the number of emergency room visits into play. The top illicit drug for emergency room visits for 47% of hospitals was meth. Treatment admissions has risen greatly too. Between the years of 2000 and 2005 the admission for meth treatment has more than doubled. The amount that is calculated to have been spent on treatment is about $545 million and $491 million is in the community-based specialty treatment sector.
• As many as 90 percent of methamphetamine addicts who stop using will return to the drug versus much lower rates for other substances.
• After two years on meth, an adult has depleted 25 percent, or 40 years’ worth, of dopamine, the chemical needed to feel happiness and enjoyment. The average adult loses only 7 percent every 10 years.
National Institute on Drug Abuse Notes – Vol. 17, April 1, 2002, By Patrick Zickler
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