Meth! Meth disaster
"Meth" is going to ruin us all.
It's kind of amazing to watch the media create a monster out of the amphetamine family. The New York Times has a zinger out, quoting a recent report: "an overwhelming number of sheriffs polled nationwide declared methamphetamine their No. 1 law enforcement problem."
Will alcohol finally have to return its gold medal after all these years? I doubt it. In this sentence I'm quoting from the article, I've taken out the name of America's newest #1 enemy and left it blank. Tell me that alcohol doesn't fit in just as snuggly. "_______ users are often unable to hold down jobs because of the highly addictive nature of the drug, meaning they are often uninsured, the hospitals say."
Colossal social lies are going on with this meth phenomenon. Stop at ANY truck depot across this great country (nowadays even lots of gas stations) and talk to a truck driver, or go visit a wide swathe of child education specialists or "learning experts." Talk to any A-ball to major league baseball player. Talk to a freelance journalist -- ignore this brat's confessions -- even one who specializes in drug use and American society. Ask them what personal experience has taught them about amphetamines. Personal experience tells me a pretty dull tale -- as in it's all pretty safe stuff. I know dozens of people who are prescribed clean-safe-legal amphetamines, sold to them for profit by Big Pharma. They, for the most part, live happy lives, and go on about their business, harmless-happy-helping people. Sometimes, I buy the same stuff the truck drivers do! DO NOT TELL ANYONE!
Then I read about these criminal low-lifes, who are forced to cook up their own, using cold medications. We hear about how they carry about "commercial quantities" and how they'll burn your house down for the next dose.
Why don't I share the social panic about Meth? Because I think it's a lie founded in pharma industry prodding at the media (much like the record company's PR push for stories about legal and illegal downloads), and cultural inertia that automatically brands anything outside of a tiny set of "safe" choices as dangerous poison.
This is about class in a lot of respects... some folks can buy into a market that uses different, legitimate language in their path to amphetamine family consumption that others can't buy into, and so they don't have to think about penalties; just when they need to get another prescription filled out. But it's part of the same drug family that has the nation's sherriffs so worried.
And if you feel like reading some more... Read Erowid's encyclopedia entry on amphetamines. Jack Shafer of Slate did a nice job of tearing down the Meth Mouth myth a while back.
Update: Jack Shafer also caught the National Association of Counties report.