Like cockroaches, meth issue will never go away

In the same sense that we sometimes wonder why Mother Nature gave the world cockroaches, it's also normal to question why we have methamphetamine.

Cockroaches certainly are among the filthiest, most prolific pests in the insect world. Meth occupies a parallel spot in the hierarchy of controlled substances.

Just as there's hardly anything endearing about cockroaches, it is difficult to absorb why anyone would want to be mixed up with meth.

There's nothing exotic about the stuff. Meth chefs need just a little pseudoephedrine from cold medicine, a 2-liter soda bottle and a few readily available chemicals to mix up a batch. The problem is, making meth can be extremely explosive and fiery and can cause gruesome burns.

If you are buying a home, you would be wise to check the Drug Enforcement Administration's meth house registry. The list contains more than 21,000 addresses where the drug once was manufactured.

Cleaning a meth house can be expensive — $3,000 to $4,000 — or more, and there dare not be a speck of the drug left behind. That's because even a piece the size of a grain of sand can prompt toxicological worries.

But if you think meth does a number on homes and children, consider what it does to users.

Addicts travel a backward trip through evolution. Normal, respectable people who use meth eventually devolve into pitiful beings who rip off employers, friends and family members — whatever it takes to feed the addiction.

Users also suffer brutal physical ravages.

Meth's negative side effects, like breeding cockroaches, multiply to inflict many others beside the addict, and scientific, legislative and enforcement strategies seem not to make a dent in its usage.

A federal law requires that pseudoephedrine cold medicine be kept behind the counter at pharmacies, but that's just one finger poked in a leaking dike. Meth production is so profitable that Mexican cartels are making and smuggling the drug into the United States. The DEA estimates 80 percent of meth comes to the United States from Mexico.

Barring a significant breakthrough, the future of meth seems as certain as that of the cockroach. Neither the insects nor the meth may ever go away.

— Kearney (Neb.) Hub

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