Meth is making a comeback

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 18, 2001

News Editor

Methamphetamines are making a huge comeback on the drug scene, and local law enforcement officers are working day and night combat the problem in Troy, Pike County and the surrounding areas.

"Meth is new perhaps only to today’s generation of drug users who aren’t aware of the severe depression, weight loss, anxiousness and other dangers of this drug," said Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas. "Meth was around in the 70s, but it faded out. In the 80s and 90s cocaine and it’s derivative crack was the drug of choice, but these drugs were more expensive, and now meth is making a comeback."

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Methamphetamines’ roots can be traced back to Nazi, Germany. It was developed there before World War II to allow pilots to fly more combat missions.

Meth, whose parent drug is amphetamine, was pilot used in the 1970s to treat obesity, narcolepsy and nasal congestion, Thomas said. Athletes, truckers, college students and night shift workers have used it to stay alert.

Today meth is smoked, snorted, injected or swallowed. Immediately after use the meth users experiences an intense sensation.

"The sensation lasts only a few minutes swallowing or snorting," Thomas said. "Meth produces a euphoric high without the initial sensation. A gram can produce a high for 15 to 18 hours."

The long "high" that meth users get makes it difficult to catch them because they operate on a different "clock" than most people.

"The average meth users sleeps very little," said Wayne Floyd, commander of the 12th Judicial Circuit Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force. "I overheard one meth user brag to another about not having slept but 10 hours in the last six days.

"What a lot of people fail to realize is the meth labs are not like science labs complete with beakers. Many times the labs are cardboard boxes in the trunk of a car. They make it for a little while and they pack it up and move it."

The ease of moving the meth labs makes it harder for the authorities to apprehend meth traffickers. Floyd said one of the reasons that meth is seen "less inside the city limits" is because there are more people in a concentrated area and "more officers serve as a deterrent.

"Visibility is the key to law enforcement," Floyd said. "Uniformed officers in marked cars deter the street level sale of drugs. But when you get into the supply and demand if one person wants it there will be one person to supply it. And they will pay for it. What they don’t realize is they will pay for it in more than one way when we get involved."

Another factor that keeps meth production outside of highly populated areas is the easily identified smell.

"You can smell it if it’s cooked in an apartments, but you can’t smell it if it’s cooked in a mobile home out in the county," Floyd said. "That’s one reason its more prolific out in the county."

Regardless of the difficulty of stopping the production and use of methamphetamines in the county, local law enforcement continues to work diligently around the clock to stop it.

"We continue to investigate the illegal use and abuse of drugs," said Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage. " About a year and a half ago we added an additional officer from the Troy Police Department to work with the drug task force to help combat the drug problem. It is a time-consuming process and we are not able to prematurely release information that jeopardizes the investigation. "

Thomas said meth has hit Pike County in epidemic proportion, and it is the worst drug he has seen in Pike County.

"We are working extremely hard to do our part to minimize the problem," Thomas said. "We get calls on a daily basis and we encourage people to call. What we need is legislature to make some of the ingredients a control substance is it is not so easily purchased."

Editor’s Note: The second part of this series will be published in the Wednesday edition of The Messenger. It will focus on the production and effects of using and manufacturing methamphetamines.