Methamphetamine is the most addictive illegal drug in the United States. Frontline looked at the drug in the year 2005. Since then, laws have been passed to curb the major ingredients in the drug. These ingredients are also found in cold medicines that are popular. However, the Meth cooks have found a way around the laws but the pharmaceutical industry is fighting to stop new controls. According to Steve Su, a reporter for The Oregonian, the cold medicine industry in the United States is approximated to be about a $3 billion money for the drug companies.
Frontline in association with The Oregonian looked at the meth epidemic to investigate a potential new cure and the battle raging over it. The meth epidemic has swept across U.S; this is the epidemic of abusing methamphetamine. It began in Oregon. This is one of the areas where the epidemic has hit harder. During the filming of the epidemic caused by meth, the narrator and police come across a lady in a park in Portland. She describes the feeling after one has taken the meth. She says that it gives an individual a euphoric rush, feeling your body tingle over. However, she laments the fact that the meth has destroyed the community.
In the year 2006, Congress gave a direction that cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine to be sold behind the pharmacy counter. This move was inspired by the reporting that was aired by the Frontline. Pseudoephedrine is one of the major ingredients in the making of the meth. This resulted in the consumers being limited to utmost three boxes per purchase. However, the meth cooks changed their recipe to a new one (shake and bake), and they started using one box of cold medicine. One of the former meth cook Robert Lucier says that the new recipe came with dangers. Because if the container being used could not handle it, it exploded. According to Rob Bovett, District Attorney, Lincoln County in Oregon, those people that cook meth mix things that were never designed to be put together. E.g. strong acids and bases, engine cleaners and drain cleaners.
According to Frontline, the human cost of the epidemic was staggering. In the year, 2005, when they were filming, more than half of the inmates in Portland jails used meth. One of the inmates says that after she started using meth, everything has changed. Due to the changes brought u by the meth, the King of the jail started collecting booking photos of those that were arrested. He says that changes in someone who is using meth can be seen. This is because methamphetamine has a deteriorating effect on someones physical appearance. He further says that some inmates came to jail looking attractive. However, they currently look like a shell of what they once were because of using meth.
Reporters of The Oregonian, a newspaper in the Portland started focusing on the impact of meth on the people of the Oregon community. According to reporter Steve Suo, the effects of meth are huge. He says that the drug does not only affect its users but also those that do not use it. This is because those that use it are the people who commit the property crimes. Parents that use the drug are going to extend of sending their children to foster care. He says that it is very hard to travel to any part of Oregon and fail to experience the effect of meth on the people. Meth is so strong that, even a single puff off the pipe can make an individual stay high a whole day.
In 2005, half of the students in foster care in Oregon were due to meth. According to pediatrician Carole, many of the children were brought there after their parents were arrested because of manufacturing meth. Some of these children knew how to cook meth, even at a tender age of 9 years. Some of the children also flee home due to domestic violence between the parents. This has led to the occurrence of meth orphans since their parents have been stolen from them by the drug.
Researchers have found out that meth creates its rush of euphoria by changing the part of the brain of the addicted person that generates dopamine. Dopamine is the basic pleasure of chemical found in the brain. However, in terms of dopamine release, methamphetamine makes the brain produce more of it. That explains the reason meth users have the euphoric experience unlike any other thing they have ever come through. Research further shows that meth might be the most addictive drug. Compared to other drugs like cocaine and heroin, crystal meth can be obtained from household products. The two essential ingredients for producing meth are ephedrine and pseudoephedrine that are found in many cold medicines.
In 1986, Washington, D.C., there was a man called Gene Haislip who had planned to put down the meth cooks outs of the business. He was the number three man at the DEA. He had a unique idea for controlling drugs by going after chemical components that went into illegal drugs. Haislips plan for beating the meth cooks was geared by his victory in the recent fight against drug, Quaaludes. Haislip was the summoned to a meeting of Reagan administration officials and industry lobbyists at the Old Executive Office building near the White House. The meeting did not end the way Haislip had hoped. The pharmaceutical industry told him that it wanted the bill to be amended to exempt cold medicine. The man had no chance other than accepting.
Beating meth was not going to be easy as Haislip had hoped. The industry was opposed to regulation. And the Congress was worried more about the cocaine. Then the worst is is that meth cooks were increasing dramatically. While the U.S. government was spending a lot of money in attempting to control heroin and cocaine, meth was given low priority. The government did not bother to monitor those people who were buying the key ingredients for meth from the nine factories. According to Carl Byker, no one knows better what those stakes are than those who have been addicted to meth.
Drug use and its impact on our society
The trafficking and abuse of drugs in the United States affect almost all aspects of our lives. The Economic cost is estimated at $215 billion. The overburdened justice system also is damaged by the abuse of drugs and addiction too. The healthcare system is strained, and productivity among individuals lost. The worst of all is the environmental destruction.
Byker, C. (2006). The Meth Epidemic/ Frontline. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meth/
U.S. Department of Justice, National Drug Intelligence Center, National Drug Threat Assessment 2010, February 2010. http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs38/38661/drugImpact.htm
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