Pubdate: Mon, 26 Apr 2004
Source: Winkler Times (CN MB)
Copyright: 2004 Winkler Times
Author: Ellie Reimer
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Winkler police are seeing an alarming increase in the use of crystal meth, 
or methamphetamine, among local youth. "Twelve months ago, we were hearing 
that meth was available in Winkler," says police chief Rick Hiebert. "Now 
we run into it on a regular basis."

Hiebert says his office has a list of more than 30 local suspected meth 
users, and the list is growing.

"Meth use is really running rampant in North Dakota," he said, "and it's 
all over the map there - farmers, housewives, any professionals, any 
career. If it comes here with that kind of impact..."

In Winkler, Hiebert says the group most likely to be involved with meth are 
late teens and young adults, often kids on the periphery, non-school attenders.

"There's a fairly large group out there for whom meth is the drug of 
choice," he said.

And that's alarming for a number of reasons.

Meth is very addictive. Often, users are hooked at the first hit.

"The first time gives such a big 'high' of euphoria," says Hiebert, "that 
people just keep on trying to duplicate that 'high'. But they never can."

Meth acts on the brain's pleasure centre, decreasing the normal chemicals 
produced to create a sense of pleasure, and the more meth is used, the 
lower the threshold of pleasure.

Meth is also alarming because of the nature of the addiction.

"When they're on meth, they're very active, very alert, they often can't 
stop moving," says Hiebert. "Meth is a stimulant, not a depressant like 
alcohol or a mellowing drug like marijuana. People on meth don't sleep a lot."

However, he says when users come down from the high, they become agitated 
and aggressive, violent, and unpredictable.

"And, once they're down, they may sleep for three days straight," he added.

Meth users are also very likely to be involved in crime, says Hiebert.

"People on the list of suspected meth users are also often the ones 
stealing bikes and stereos out of cars, that kind of thing, to fund their 
drug habit."

Crystal meth is similar to cocaine, he says. However, while the 'high' from 
cocaine will last for minutes, the effects from crystal meth can last for 
eight to 15 hours.

"And, depending on how you take it, whether you snort it, inject it, or 
take it orally, meth is cheaper than cocaine and easier for users to 
access," says Hiebert.

More information on drug use can be found on the Winkler Police Service 
website. The site also has numerous links to more information about drugs. 
Go to the Winkler police website and click on 
'community programs', and then 'drug information'.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom