Pubdate: Tue, 01 Mar 2005
Source: Anderson Independent-Mail (SC)
Copyright: 2005 Independent Publishing Company, a division of E.W. Scripps
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Community Must Be Educated To Dangers

Some 200 Anderson County residents gathered at the Civic Center one day 
last week to learn about a dangerous street drug that is causing havoc all 
over the country.

Methamphetamine can be manufactured just about anywhere, using common 
chemicals and products such as matches, batteries, drain cleaner and sinus 
medication. It can be smoked, snorted or shot up. A report in the Feb. 28 
edition of Newsweek describes it as a "powerful stimulant that leaves many 
users feeling euphoric and hypersexual." Newsweek says meth has become 
popular among some urban gay men, who may be recharging the AIDS epidemic 
by having unprotected sex with multiple partners while high.

But gays are certainly not the only users.

A federal study in 2003 estimated more than 12 million Americans have used 
some form of the high-inducing drug at least once. And even non-users can 
suffer. The vapors created by meth manufacture are extremely bad for children.

At last week's meeting, Anderson County Sheriff's Department investigator 
Ed Hazel told people how to spot a suspected meth lab in their 
neighborhood, and physician Marshall Meadors focused on the signs that 
someone has been using meth. But the purpose was not to turn ordinary 
citizens into crusading drug fighters. Meth makers are dangerous people who 
jealously guard their operations.

"We do not want people to become investigators," Mr. Hazel said. "If you 
think you've got a meth lab in your neighborhood, don't look any further to 
see what it is. Call me."

Things to look for, according to Mr. Hazel: . Aerosol cans with holes in 
the bottom. . A strange odor, similar to cat urine, in the air. . Unusual 
amounts of batteries, iodine, drain cleaner or other chemicals. . Common 
lab materials, such as hoses or beakers. . Coffee filters, coffee bean 
grinders or blenders with a pink residue.

This program was an extremely helpful one for the community, and we 
congratulate the Sheriff's Department and Doclink, a program that brings 
physicians into public forums as educators, for collaborating on this one. 
We also congratulate so many residents for coming out to learn more about it.

At the same time, it is such a pity that meth manufacture has become so 
common that people can find it going on down the street from where they live.
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