Methamphetamine

July 15, 2005 • Volume 15, Issue 25
Are tougher anti-meth laws needed?
By Pamela M. Prah

Introduction

Before-and-after photographs of a meth addict from central Illinois show how the drug causes rapid physical deterioration.  (Paxis Institute)
Before-and-after photographs of a meth addict from central Illinois show how the drug causes rapid physical deterioration. (Paxis Institute)

Known as “crank,” “ice” and “poor man's cocaine,” methamphetamine is the nation's most serious local drug problem, according to a July 2005 report by the National Association of Counties. Requests for treatment for “meth” abuse — which can produce a 24-hour high and cause irreversible brain damage — jumped 420 percent in recent years. Moreover, the toxic chemicals used in making meth wreak havoc on the environment, and child-welfare authorities say children whose parents use or make meth often suffer abuse and neglect. Unlike other illegal drugs, meth can be made with readily available ingredients. Police in rural areas throughout the West, Midwest and South have been raiding meth labs — which are toxic, foul-smelling and potentially explosive — in homes, hotel rooms and national parks. Now meth is moving eastward, and lawmakers are scrambling to pass meth-related legislation — including laws making it harder to buy cold medicines with pseudoephedrine, a key meth ingredient.

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