This is dedicated to Travis Holappa who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered on July 25, 2004 in Northern Minnesota. This was all due to meth. I am Travis' mother and I wish to make this devastation turn into a better thing by educating and exposing the truth about meth, the dangers, and the deadly consequences it brings about to individuals and communities.

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Location: Colorado, United States

I want to do what I can to educate people about what is going on around the world with the meth problem. I want people to know about it BEFORE they even get the idea to want to try it. It is a dangerous drug and will ruin your life as well as all those who love you. I am on a mission on behalf of my only son, Travis.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Meth Problem: Is it in Your Back Yard?

I found this very interesting article of what is going on in South Dakota. There has not been a state that has been left untouched by meth and its demonic hold. Kim

BY WENDY PITLICK, Black Hills Pioneer January 09, 2006

Part one of a series

Editor's Note: Methamphetamine is ripping apart the fabric of our community. From the 5-year old child charged with taking care of her infant brother because her mother is passed out from the drug, to the rental property owner confronted with the cost of cleaning up a meth lab, to the addict in the state pen for a crime he committed while high on the drug, few people remain unaffected.

Starting today and running through next week, the Pioneer will examine this growing problem with a series called, "Meth: Everyone's Problem."

The series sheds light on the monster that has infected our largely quiet Northern Hills lives. We will explore the history of the drug and where it comes from, the physical effects of meth on the body, the physical, psychological and emotional effects the drug has on children, meth education in the schools, the toxic danger of meth labs and signs of a lab, legislation that has been enacted to fight the problem, and ways community members can help combat meth locally. Today, we start with the police, and reports of what an epidemic the drug has actually become. As one officer put it, "It's worse than smoking, it's worse than drinking, it's worse than anything."

RAPID CITY - The Northern Hills methamphetamine problem is growing, and it doesn't show signs that it will stop any time soon, law enforcement officials say.
Increased supply and demand on the streets, increased needle use that indicates high levels of addiction, younger dealers and users, and lower prices all point to an ever-growing meth problem, according to Dale McCabe of the S.D. Division of Criminal Investigation.
"We usually only buy (drugs undercover) two or three times and that's it," he said. "But after those two or three buys when we move on to the next target those people are still approaching us to buy more. That tells us we've got a lot of drugs. When they're seeking customers they have a lot of supply. We see people literally knocking on people's doors just to move stuff."
In fact, McCabe said some recent busts of drug trafficking organizations (a network of three to five people involved in selling methamphetamine) in the Rapid City area have indicated just how much supply is out there. Some organizations, McCabe said, have been capable of moving a pound - or more - of meth throughout the Black Hills area.
"There are 454 grams in a pound and user amounts are usually half gram sizes," McCabe said. "That's a lot of street level dealing going on."
And statewide arrest statistics serve to confirm that fact. However, McCabe cautioned that statistics can be deceiving. For example, a drug trafficking organization, he said, may be capable of moving more drugs than they are caught with, or, on the flip side, law enforcement officials may make a drug arrest on Interstate 90 and confiscate drugs that were bound for Chicago.
But the numbers are striking.
In 2003, according to statewide statistics compiled by the S.D. Division of Criminal Investigation, meth related arrests totaled 503. In 2004 that number was 700. In 2005 through October, there were 604 such arrests.
Meth can be produced in highly toxic and explosive labs that can be housed in residences, motel rooms, storage sheds, and even the trunks of cars. Since the main ingredient is pseudoephedrine, a drug found in common cold remedies, and recipes are plastered all over the Internet, almost anyone could make the drug if given the right instruction.
But according to McCabe, most of the drugs that come into the Rapid City/Northern Hills area are from Denver, while some are funneled from Salt Lake City and Phoenix. But a frequent common denominator, he said, is that drugs coming up from Mexico arrive in their purest form. Since there are no Mexican laws limiting the sale of pseudoephedrine, and it is easier to get the other ingredients, McCabe said Mexicans are able to produce the drug in mass quantities. They then funnel it into the Midwest, where people are willing to pay up to $2,000 an ounce. By comparison, McCabe said, the same ounce can go for about $500 in California, where users who are closer to the border have easier access to the drug.
According to DCI reports, methamphetamine in the Rapid City area is at least 80 percent pure, while a lot of meth found in the Sioux Falls area is approximately 35 percent pure. That, McCabe said, is because people in the Black Hills are willing to pay top dollar for the best, and they're so addicted they won't settle for anything less.
"Users here are very picky," McCabe said. "They want the best because the other stuff doesn't give them the effect they're looking for. It's not different than marketing a good product in a Fortune 500 company. That's how they operate."
In addition to finding purer drugs in high demand, McCabe said another indicator of high addiction rates is the increased evidence of needle use DCI agents are finding. About seven or eight years ago, he said, it was very rare to find a needle during a meth bust. Today, he said it is rare to not find a needle.
"We find needles all the time," he said. "That's pretty sad because that is the ultimate way to use it. People say once you use it that way you'll never go back. We have people who are deathly afraid of needles and they can't even inject themselves, they have to have someone else inject them. But they still use it that way because that is the ultimate high."
The increased needle use, McCabe said, could pose an additional, significant risk to law enforcement officials who move in to do a drug bust.
"Now we've got the danger of being poked," he said. "Sure enough, one of our guys a couple of years ago got poked by a needle in a house and it just so happened that the occupants of the house had full-blown AIDS. They had needles all over the place and they had kids running around."
High addiction and use rates, McCabe said, are particularly disturbing considering the rehabilitation rate of meth addicts. According to statewide statistics, a person must go into intensive, inpatient rehabilitation for approximately 18 months before even having a chance at recovering from a meth addiction. That is compared to the standard addiction model of 30-90 days in a treatment facility.
"And for somebody to do a cold turkey quit on this drug is almost impossible," he said. "I'm sure there is a case we're not aware of. It's worse than smoking, it's worse than drinking, it's worse than anything."
Overall, McCabe said the methamphetamine problem in the Black Hills, particularly in smaller communities where dealers tend to dwell as they attempt to hide from law enforcement officials, is getting uglier and uglier. "For a smaller community, I would say we have a significant meth problem," he said. "It's pretty safe and pretty accurate to say that it seems like it is growing more and more."


Blogger Danika said...

The stats in this article are b.s. I am a recovering meth addict and I didn't go to treatment at all this time and still somehow I got clean. Hmm....(Although, I have been to a total of 5 treatment centers in my life for addiction to meth, pain killers, and alcohol.) My best friend tested positive for meth when she went into premature labor over a year ago and she has been in drug court ever since. She never went to treatment either. The fear of losing her baby was enough.See, contrary to what the public is told about meth users sometimes even we use reasoning skills too. Now she goes to the same college I go to and her baby is fine.(And if you're wondering we both used meth a long time-I personally did meth for at least 9 years before giving it up less than a year ago. And it is hard! Some days I still want to use but don't? Why, well, because your stats on the availability of the drug is not at all true for the state I live in. I stopped using after it became apparent that unless I wanted to be constantly searching for my next "bump" I might as well give it up. This is because over a year ago(close to 2 actually)ephedrine has been very hard to get in my home state. Oh sure, there is always a lot of that crap they call ICE that is supposed to be so much stronger than the meth that was being produced in home labs but that's not true-at least where I live!! I did do ICE in the last few weeks before I quit and it felt like I was on a bunch of caffine or mini-thins,so I quit. I do admit for a few months I got my doctor to give me Ritalin because I couldn't concentrate in school but I took it as prescribed and after about 3 months I quit refilling it. Ice is more expensive and as I said-it produces a very different "High" if you could even call it that. I know it sounds ridiculous but in a way I do feel as resentful as I sound. It took a long time to get used to not having the "motivation" that I got from speed. However, every addict has to quit eventually. Jails, institutions, and death. That is all an addict has to look forward thanks to the ridiculous laws the U.S. has reguarding drugs. I've experienced all but one and I did not want to die at the "hands" of meth or 'lose my life' to the U.S. criminal (in)justice system.Your info on the price and availability I suspect are untrue for most states considering only a handful don't have strict laws concerning the sale of ephedrine. So what do you have, a lot of freaked out addicts doing some pretty desperate things to go around the laws and a bunch more illegal mexicans running around selling a lot of "ICE"(which by the way, doesn't call for ephedrine to produce it). Most of the people I know of that use ICE are in their late teens or early 20s and where not users of the old form of meth. Thats right, your kids. So aren't you glad D.Fienstine and others have spent so much of your hard earned tax money keeping meth out of your kids hands!! Anyways, sorry that this post was so long Kim, but I had to comment. Just a idea I had, maybe the next time some person writes an article on meth it would be helpful if they actually knew what they were talking about. Dani

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 6:01:00 PM  

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