Methamphetamine has long been known as one of the scariest drugs in the world, and it deserves that reputation, too. The drug is created in home-based “meth labs” where do-it-yourself chemists combine toxic solvents and hardware-store-purchased chemicals. It takes some knowhow to create meth, but the end result is corrosive and dangerous, even when made correctly.
Meth is destroying communities across the country, but up till now it has seemed to be a drug that only harmed the people that made the terrible decisions to produce or use it. It is now becoming apparent that meth is even more dangerous than previously expected, as it has led some users to commit murder.
The Effect of Meth on Innocent Bystanders
One way that meth has always hurt the innocent is by poisoning bystanders that had nothing to do with the production or use of the drug. Many meth labs are built in the homes of families that have children. A whole lab full of poisonous and easily flammable chemicals could be housed just down the hall from a child’s bedroom. Meth producers are usually small town adults that are trying to make a quick buck, and they are often addicts themselves.
What these meth producers don’t always understand is that the process of creating meth releases massive quantities of poisonous fumes into the air. While the meth maker will probably be wearing a mask to try to shield his own lungs, this does nothing for the young children in their bedrooms elsewhere in the house. Even if doors and windows are taped off, there is no way to keep these fumes from permeating the house.
There is a reason that pharmaceutical companies produce their own drugs in clean rooms with industrial strength facilities. They know that certain chemical are toxic and can poison workers if the highest standards of safety aren’t enforced. Meth producers don’t follow these standards, and children and family members are often poisoned in the process.
Another way that families are harmed is when the meth production facility catches fire. Several steps of the meth production process call for heating ingredients. When meth producers reach this step, they don’t always take the precautions needed to keep open flames away from explosive chemical fumes. Some raise the danger level by even smoking around these flammable vapors. There have been many reports of meth labs exploding and then injuring of killing the inhabitants of a home.
Meth & Murder
While police have known of these meth lab dangers for years, just recently there have been high-profile reports of meth use leading to murder. In Utah, a mother was found to have killed six newborn children between the 1996 and 2006. The woman was addicted to methamphetamine and reported stated that she knew she couldn’t handle the responsibility of caring for the babies. Instead of using birth control or putting the children up for adoption, (or even cleaning up her act and deciding to care for the babies once she discovered she was pregnant), this woman was so addled by the drugs that she had been using for so long that she decided the best option was to strangle her own newborn children.
Drugs have a habit of changing your priorities, but this is a new low. The United States needs to recommit itself to delivering effective drug and alcohol rehabilitation to all of its citizens before drug use leads even more members of our communities to murder. We need to act on a national and local scale before even more lives are senselessly lost.