My column on methamphetamine last week got its share of kudos. If you didn’t read it, I implored teens and young adults in our area to stay away from the highly addictive drug.
What I didn’t write about is the danger involved in making meth. In the last couple of years, the so-called shake and bake meth has become very popular. Shake and bake is produced by combining raw, unstable ingredients in a 2-liter soda bottle. If the person mixing the concoction makes the slightest error, like removing the cap too soon or perforating the plastic, the mixture will explode, and most likely causing burns all over the mixer’s body.
I’m told Eric Herron and his friends were using this method at their Bischoff Street house. They are lucky injury did not happen to them, like it has too many others. An Associated Press survey of nation’s hospitals shows that a third of patients in burn units are there because they got hurt making meth. Additionally the average meth person’s stay in a hospital adds up to a whopping $130,000, because their burns are so intense- this is 60% greater than an average burn victim.
The shake and bake method is so much easier than the traditional meth lab. One uses less pseudoephedrine, the common element in cold and allergy pills. It also cooks up the product in a matter of minutes rather than hours or days, and it’s cheaper and certainly easier to hide. It’s so easy, meth heads can carry the ingredients in a small backpack, and cook it in the seat of a car or bathroom stall.
The shake and bake method has made meth readily available and cost effective. That, in my opinion, is bad news for our society. Meth has proven to be the most addictive drug on the market- more so than most prescription pills- which is another epidemic, and cocaine.
Add the addiction to some of meth’s side effects, and you pay a pretty big price for the abbreviated “high” you get. Side effects such as rotting teeth, insomnia, loss of appetite and longer term effects like violent behavior, dizziness and disorientation make meth a bigtime “no, no.”
Beyond the individual effects are what it is doing to our health care system. People don’t realize that seven burn units across the nation have closed their doors because they cannot afford to treat meth patients. Hospitals, everywhere are being filled with thousands of uninsured meth patients requiring billions of dollars in advanced treatment.
Who’s paying for all this? You know who. You and I. We see it in increased health insurance premiums. We see it every time we need care at a hospital or medical facility. Enough is enough. If you know a person or persons addicted to this evil drug, help them. Seek out professional help for them. By doing so, you will be doing everyone a favor.