A hell of a meth

Portrait of a crytal meth user: Before and after

Ask cops what concerns them most when it comes to crime in Southwestern Virginia and they usually answer in two words: Crystal meth.

Methamphetamine use and production is rising to epidemic levels throughout the area and that use leads to other crime as users turn to robbery and break-ins to finance their habits.

Floyd County Sheriff Shannon Zeman says fighting the growing meth problem is a priority for his department, even as his budget and resources are sapped by budget cuts.

“It’s out there and we have to deal with it,” he says.

Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Jeff Dalton tells The Roanoke Times that meth is involved in 60-to-65 percent of drug-related charges in Floyd County.

“We see more meth than anything else,” he says.

The Virginia State Police says meth drug seizures and lab discoveries are up 300 percent in the last year and meth “tweakers” have turned to a simpler, single-pot method of making the drug.

Crystal meth is highly addictive for those who use and extremely lucrative for those who manufacture and sell the drug. The money potential attracts gangs who move into rural areas to try and control the drug market.

Dalton tells us that Roanoke-based gangs like the Bloods and Crips operate in Floyd County. Gang-related graffiti is appearing more often in the county, although a recent “gang tag” in the town of Floyd turned out to be the work of some teen-aged wannabes.

Not all of the meth that is flooding the area is locally-made. Mexican meth is also on the rise, costs more and provides more profit for pushers.

Destroyed teeth of a meth user

But when meth is produced locally it creates a hazard not only for users of the drug but also for others. Meth labs are highly-toxic, volatile and can easily explode.  The cost to taxpayers for cleaning up a meth lab starts at more than four grand.

The drug destroys the health of those who use it.  Users face organ breakdown, discolored skin, destroyed teeth and death.

It’s a killer drug and one that is all around us in Floyd County and Southwestern Virginia.

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3 thoughts on “A hell of a meth”

  1. Part of the problem is that now we REALLY have a drug that is everything that our mothers warned us about, but thanks to the activities of our “anti-drug forces” the cries of “wolf” quit registering years ago.

    While methamphetamine has been around for over 100 years the only thing it’s been proven effective at “treating” is acute fatigue, not saying that that’s a good idea or that there aren’t better therapeutic paths to follow, just trying to make an honest assessment without relying on drug-war demonization to make my point. The poison that our neighbors are cooking up on their stove-tops isn’t fit for human consumption (you know it, I know it, the cops know it), but evidently the “just say no” foolery of our drug warriors doesn’t wash with users.

    The meth problem presents anti-drug zealots with a special challenge because anybody with half a brain KNOWS that a lot of the “facts” (marijuana as a “gateway”…LSD causing babies to be born with antennae and flippers…etc, etc, etc) that they’ve conveyed over the years have been hysterical and baseless. I’ve often wondered why, if getting high is really so bad, self-proclaimed drug warriors feel compelled to make these goofball claims…why not tell the truth??

    The truth is that meth is some nasty shit. It turns intelligent, considerate people into paranoid “tweakers” who don’t sleep or eat in very short order. Those photos alone (along with many others at facesofmeth.com) stand as testimony to what users can expect to happen if they decide to use. From what I gather, the withdrawals make those of cocaine and/or heroin seem almost quaint in comparison, with addicts becoming not only uncomfortable, but excitable and belligerent/violent as well. While it’s would seem an impossibility to glamorize any such substance, our anti-drug forces have proven that they can rise to THAT occasion.

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