Pubdate: Thu, 11 Dec 2003
Source: Las Vegas Mercury (NV)
Copyright: 2003 Las Vegas Mercury
Author: Kirk Muse


I'm writing about your cover story, "Tweaker Town" (Dec. 4). During the 
1960s I worked for the federal government and several of my co-workers used 
amphetamines, known as "mini-bennies" or "whites." When these products were 
taken off the legitimate market and made illegal, the meth of today was reborn.

Today's meth labs are very similar to the illegal distilleries of the era 
known as the "Noble Experiment." During our alcohol prohibition era, 
thousands died and thousands went blind or were crippled for life from what 
was then known as "bathtub gin."

Like the meth of today, "bathtub gin" was easily made from household and 
industrial products. Like the meth of today, "bathtub gin" was a product 
created by Prohibition. Like the meth of today, illegal alcohol could be 
manufactured just about anywhere. Like the meth of today, Prohibition-era 
alcohol was of unknown quality, unknown potency and unknown purity.

When Prohibition ended in 1933, almost 100 percent of "bathtub gin" 
producers went out of business for economic reasons, and they have stayed 
out of the business for economic reasons. When alcohol prohibition ended in 
1933, the U.S. murder rate declined for 10 consecutive years. Have we 
learned any lessons?

Not yet.

- --Kirk Muse

Mesa, Ariz.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman