Seven years ago, my brother Brian and I with three colleagues wrote a book on meth. Our publisher planned publishing it in a year, a normal timeline. I urged him to rush it.
He called back a few days later and said a farm that was not far from his town blew up. I assured him it was probably a meth lab. The book was published the next month.
So, I was alarmed to see that meth use has increased dramatically in our community (“Meth use rising in county,” The Daily News, March 2). Meth is a vicious, addictive, chronic drug that impacts everyone. If you have bought a cold medicine, meth has affected your life.
In our book, I wrote of three professional, successful people who got hooked on meth. They included small businessmen and a housewife. Quickly their families lives were forever destroyed. Entire small communities have been overrun by this epidemic.
Crime increases with meth, ranging from hot checks, breaking and entering, prostitution and child abuse. Accurate information is difficult to collect. It is estimated that each user commits at least 100 crimes per year.
The user goes to prison. Their children are placed in foster care, adding to the human and financial costs.
Mental health specialists and the pharmacological industry do not have a successful treatment. Only time without meth really helps detox a person, and that is almost impossible.
A comprehensive community approach increases the chances of combating this terrible epidemic. Such measures as a strong, in-your-face ad campaign helped in Montana.
All of our citizens need to recognize the patterns and stages of this drug abuse. A team approach by medical personnel, law enforcement, educators and social service professionals who come into contact with this drug use often daily provides a very useful defense.
Meth is an extremely hazardous substance, which must be understood for the health and safety of our community.
Hopefully Alex Macon’s article and police Chief Henry Porretto’s stats will serve as a wake-up call to us, just as the meth lab explosion did for our book publisher.
Alvin Sallee lives in Galveston.