Meth Memories

Yours Truly attended a special Town Hall Meeting on the “Methamphetamine Epidemic” at the Salpointe High School auditorium. It was quite the show, and included a panel of “police, medical experts, and neighbors” who had ideas on how to stop the “meth epidemic”.

It had the disturbing quality of the first Junior High (that would be “Middle School” for those of you under forty) anti-drug assembly I attended in ninth grade. No laptops and Power Points then; just two narcs with crew cuts in sport jackets and ties telling us how marijuana would kill us. It was all very exiting for a young boy. I went up to the front after the show where the narcs were doing an informal Q and A. I heard one of the narcs say, “I watched a boy beat his head against the radiator – just like this one – to stop the pain”, as he pointed to a cast iron radiant heating unit on the floor next to the wall – they were ubiquitous in those days. The only thing I didn’t understand was why anyone would ever touch a drug!

Of course, within a few years I had friends who -gasp!- smoked marijuana! The odd thing was that not only were they not banging their heads against radiators, but they were doing well in school and had lofty ambitions (eventually they would become lawyers, publishers, research scientists, and economists). Naturally, I wanted to be part of the crowd, so I smoked marijuana too – and I didn’t bang my head either.

Back at the town hall meeting, it was nearing the end of the Power Point presentation and we were treated to pictures of dental nightmares that apparently resulted from years of meth use – it dries your mouth. I glanced around the auditorium. The largest demographic was blue-haired retired women, many of whom were slowly shaking their heads side to side, undoubtedly thinking, “I don’t understand why anyone would ever touch meth!”

I remember a time, many years ago, when I … had a friend who used methamphetamine occasionally. He told me that it did in fact make you feel like Superman. In this the “mental health experts” concur. What the “mental health experts” did not know was that you could avoid tweaking by drinking alcohol to mitigate the effect of the meth. Anyway, my friend used to drink with some grad students who worked in labs and manufactured meth for their own use – and that of my friend. Upon graduation, they went their separate ways. They typically entered careers in their chosen fields, married, and lived happily ever after – no reports of any head banging.

Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that drug abuse is all fine and dandy. What I am suggesting is that narrow, hysterical presentations tend to result in more distrust than healthy living. My friend dabbled in meth use off and on for a period of less than a year. He told me that if he had it to do all over again, he never would have taken the stuff; of course, he also said that he never would have taken up drinking either.

On the lighter side, it was delightful to see the local pols out on the town. Vice Mayor Dunbar and her staff at the Ward III office hosted the event. I believe the entire staff was there. The Katie and Alex Show (of the Uhlich and Trasoff campaigns respectively) was there. Karin (yes, she spells it “Karin”) Uhlich herself was there with a pocket full of bumper stickers. Even Vernon Walker took time from working the Himmel Park Library to stop by. He still does not have a web site. These will be fun elections!