maineMaine may not be the biggest state in the Union, but it does have the same drug problems as any large state. More than 1 in 20 Maine high school students have used a stimulant like methamphetamine. This may not be as high as the rate of marijuana use, but meth is a very dangerous drug.

Meth use can cause rapid pulse, higher heart rate, sweating, and shortness of breath, dilated pupils, and an increase in body temperature. Heart attacks are common with methamphetamine overdose, as are strokes and kidney failure. Meth addiction is not something you would want to wish on even your worst enemy!

“Shake and Bake” Meth Labs

But, unfortunately, there are some people that are trying make things even worse, by coming up with ways to make small batches of meth with simple equipment. The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency reports that methamphetamine can be manufactured anywhere in Maine, from extreme rural areas such as the Allagash, to Maine’s small towns, and the urban communities of Lewiston, Portland, and Bangor.

Many methamphetamine laboratories now are small-scale operations known as “One Pot” or “Shake and Bake” labs. They can make less than 2 ounces at a time in about 30 minutes by mixing or shaking ingredients in containers like 20 ounce plastic soda bottles. Because they are portable, meth makers often transport these containers in their car. Plastic bottles discarded on the side of the road may contain toxic or flammable chemicals.

The state is now warning that if you find a discarded soda bottle with an unknown substance in it, report it to the police. “One Pot” labs can be carried in bags, suitcases and backpacks, and can be located anywhere someone can hide the common household items used to make methamphetamine and a container for mixing, including homes, hotels, sheds, and cars. Most methamphetamine in Maine is now produced this way.

The State of Maine restricts the sale of the key ingredient in meth (pseudoephedrine) to pharmacies only. On the federal level, the Federal Combat Meth Act also places restrictions on products containing pseudoephedrine. Maine has increased the legal penalties for possession and trafficking of specific quantities of methamphetamine and amphetamine pills, as well as limiting the amount of meth ingredients that can be sold or purchased per day and per month. Maine is also requiring the establishment of an electronic logging system, so that illegal sales can be blocked. Unfortunately, meth is also manufactured in Canada, and transported over the border into Maine, and other states.

Economic Waste

Another problem is the cost of each meth lab investigation. Maine spends over $15,000 for each one, including costs for hazmat teams, etc. Cities also pay costs for police, fire and

EMT’s. Basically, tax dollars are being wasted. Think of how many positive things could be done with all that money that would benefit society. Plus, the homeowner or property owner has to pay for cleanup costs that can run to thousands of dollars. An apartment rented to meth makers could take months to clean up. Also, insurance companies may fight paying for damages if meth is involved. The owner has to prove they had no knowledge of the meth lab.

This is all economic waste. There are many good-hearted people and organizations that could give you long lists of causes and activities that extra money would help fund. Things that would help build up our communities, instead of tearing them apart. Hopefully the tide will turn, and the battle against meth and other addictions will be won.

Reference: Maine Methamphetamine Prevention Project