Meth: America's Home-Cooked Menace

Published By: Hazelden Publishing

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Social Science

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Reviewed by Connie Anderson

Police departments in many regions across the United States say methamphetamine now represents 70-80% of their drug cases. Why? Meth is a cheap buzz and can be homemade with over-the-counter chemicals and cold remedies. It's also very quick to addict the user.

Federal surveys indicate that
- 12 million Americans have used meth
- More than 6% of high school seniors have tried it at least one time
- 4% of nation's 8th graders have used it once
- 2004 more than 17,000 meth labs were seized, compared to 7,500 in 1999
- Meth abusers now account for more than 55% of all the people who seek help for addiction.

Today the phenomenon has moved to the heartland, the Midwest, and is moving east into big cities. It is no longer the drug of choice just for outlaw motorcycle gangs.

A gram can sell for $125, ounce $1700, a pound $13,000. But the mid 1990s, meth users discovered that they could make a less-pure form by themselves by copying recipes found on the Internet.

The drug's lure is that it produces a
-- stunning burst of energy
-- a feeling of euphoria
-- heightened power of concentration
-- a buoyant sense of self esteem
-- an enhanced sex drive.

Smoking meth brings as much as an 8 to 12 hour high and 50% of the meth stays in the body after 24 hours. Meth seduces people who work long hours and become exhausted and females who use it to lose weight. The rush makes people feel great, as it affects the part of the brain that rewards people for doing things needed for human survival.

Now that you understand the who, what and why, it's important that every citizen learns how this drug is invading our country, being made in city apartments, small towns and abandoned farms or cabins.

The author, a senior writer and Chicago Bureau Chief for Newsweek, discusses mom and pop labs; women and meth; meth in the gay community; and young faces of meth. Prisons are bursting with meth users. Imagine being a child of meth users who don't sleep or eat for days while acting bizarre, and certainly not taking care of the children in their home.

Armchair Interviews says: If you are a parent, get smart about meth so you know more than your teen does. If you are a citizen, understand the emotional and financial disaster that meth is bringing into your town. Johnson's stories will blow your mind and break your heart.

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