Although extremely dangerous to make, both to the cooker and unsuspecting or innocent people around it, meth is easy to make. In the words of a young man now in jail who's been making meth since he was 13 (his mother taught him how), "an idiot could make it." He told me I would be surprised by who the buyers are and how much they're willing to pay.
With that kind of demand, bolstered by the addict's dread of the extreme downer of leaving meth and the extreme high from staying with it, the cooker has little to lose. Meth is a get-rich-quick proposition and customers can't resist buying.
Also, there is no effective treatment for addicts, so they are likely to be customers until they are dead or locked up (temporarily) in jails around the country.
When the addicts leave jail, they often go back to meth. They remember the high, one that is so appealing that it's unforgettable. Subsequent highs, through, are never as great as the first one.
Yet, addicts keep trying to reach it. Reason is left in the lurch, so appeals to resist or change the pattern are fruitless. Such resistance warnings only work before that first hit. After that, it's like telling a psychotic to snap out of it; the "help" doesn't stop the voices that are real to the psychotic.
This is a hard fact for most of us to accept. We've grown up with the fantasy that love conquers all, that a family can fix these things in a family member.
But love doesn't conquer all. It does not conquer meth. Love -- the real kind -- is complicated, hard to understand, even harder to do, requiring as it does immense courage.. Meth can be a substitute when its missing, and love that doesn't accept reality can even be a hindrance to efforts to break the meth cycle.
Meth cooking has come to rural areas, not just because it's easier to hide a lab in some old house, motel room or camper truck and because law enforcement is underfunded, it comes here, too, because of family ties so strong that turning in a family member is nearly unthinkable.
Rural counties like Grayson also have finely-tuned gossip networks. It is hard for law enforcement to do undercover work, because agents are found out quickly and exposed. This rumor mill approach leads to little public help for the agents, because an arrest can be devastating to a family's reputation.
Another setback in the local war on meth is funding cuts at the state level. Dismantling a lab is intricate and extremely dangerous work. It requires trained people with expensive protective gear.
For example, a strip of lithium found in the same batteries that run toys is an ingredient in the process of cooking meth. Should a drop of water touch that lithium strip... Well, it's like dynamite and the explosion's just as deadly to anyone or any structure nearby.
We have had good cooperation from local stores. When infor-med about the ingredients for meth that they had on their shelves, most have immediately placed those items in places where there are some controls on the amounts purchased.
Farmers have been warned about locking up or keeping less of one type of fertilizer that is an ingredient. More information is collected, too, on anyone buying the special fertilizer.
Local law enforcement can be forgiven a bit for what appears to be a reluctance to hit the meth labs and users head-on. They are untrained, and there is little money to train them. State law enforcement, which local officers could call on for expertise in the past, are finding their budgets tighter, too, the result of a state budget deficit that may reach $800 million.
Schools do an okay job talking down meth, but here, too, budget cuts are leaving too few people having to do too much to give drug prevention strategies the attention they need.
To combat meth, a drug that turns loved ones into uncaring strangers, we will need to prevent that first hit, that first unforgettable high..
That means parents have to be there, informed and involved in more than scheduling and running taxi services for children.
It means churches will have to stop fretting about easy-win issues like gay marriage or commandments in courthouses and concentrate on the threat to sinners and saints alike that meth poses.