Sunday, May 08, 2005


The "New Drug Threat" That's Decades Old

I'm sure every one of you has heard about the newest drug craze sweeping the land -- the "meth" craze. Except that it's not that new. Here's a story from California's Silicon Valley from 1999 (emphases mine):

According to Ron Brooks, commander of the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team (SCCSET)--which assists local police departments such as Campbell's with more serious drug-related cases, including surveillances, asset seizures and search warrants--roughly 80 percent of drug arrests in Santa Clara County are meth-related. In 1998, SCCSET seized roughly 10,000 grams of methamphetamine--more than any other drug. "You don't see the kind of drug abuse [in Campbell] that you see in certain parts of the state," says Brooks, who saw meth use increase in California within the last 10 years. "It's a very safe city for its size. But drugs are here in our community and so we're definitely going to see problems with manufacturing, sales and use." Although marijuana continues to be the drug of choice nationwide, among the harder drugs meth is predominant, says Brooks. California leads the nation in meth manufacture, he says. Last year, California drug enforcement officials seized 1,500 meth labs--more than in any other state.
In addition, the October 1990 article of Penthouse has an article by John Cummings called "Made in USA" (referenced on the cover as "America's Drug") that talked about how meth labs had by 1985 spread out over the rural parts of America, particularly in the South where at least one Fundie preacher was busted, and in places like East Texas, where at least one sheriff was tempted into setting up his own short-lived drug empire. According to Cummings, meth's makers and sellers pitched it (and probably still do pitch it) as America's Drug, the patriotic alternative to Mexican marijuana or Chinese heroin. (Which is ironic, considering that the same people who cook it probably also shop a lot at Wal-Mart. But I digress.) The point to all this is that while Official America was worrying about pot and cocaine -- and their urban (and often black) users -- the nation's rural areas, and rural white populations, were becoming the location and users of choice for a drug that is far nastier than either.

You might want to dig a little deeper into your research. I think you will enjoy the facts you find. Particularly search for what organization first synthesized Methamphetamine in the 1940s, and for what purpose. It's also quite comical to see the 60s tests with LSD by several major world governments.
Oh, speed's been around for ages, Jack. And it's been cooked in Southern moonshine labs for nearly as long. But since its main users and makers are white people, it wasn't given the same sort of attention as the other recreational drugs out there.
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