Pubdate: Mon, 08 Aug 2011 Source: Decatur Daily (AL) Copyright: 2011 The Decatur Daily Contact: http://www.decaturdaily.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/696 MORE NEEDED IN METH FIGHT Crystal methamphetamine, not marijuana, not crack, is Alabama's No. 1 drug of choice. It's a drug that messes up your mind, a drug from which experts say takes years of intensive rehab to recover. Unfortunately, there aren't a whole lot of solutions to the problem -- other than the obvious: Do not indulge. Lawmakers could unite next session and make products that contain ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and pheylpropanolamine -- drugs used to produce meth -- by prescription, rather than over the counter. But legislators will have to get that bill past special-interest groups, particularly drug-manufacturing trade organizations. Lawmakers and county commissions could find more money for law enforcement to step up their busts of "shake-and-bake" labs. Sheriff's departments would welcome that, but it's unlikely, too, because of state and county financial woes this year and the next fiscal year. Or, we could simply "educate" people, as retired doctor Mary Holley said this week. Surely that can't cost too much. Holley is on a crusade to warn of the dangers of meth, herself having lost a meth-addicted brother to suicide a few years back. "Once addicted, all you do is struggle," said Holley, who runs the nonprofit group Mothers Against Methamphetamine in Lacey's Spring near Marshall County, an area referred to as "meth mountain" because of the high amount of meth arrests. "This drug leads to failure in relationships ... in jobs," she added. And failure mentally; experts say it can take up to two years to treat your brain from the abuse. Holley says people age 40 and above are most likely to try the drug, which is an easy-to-make, cheap high. Meth abuse in that generation is leading to higher unemployment in the Valley, overpopulated jails, more people in drug-rehab clinics, and lots of broken homes. Yes, money is tight everywhere, but more has to be done. Educate, yes, as Holley advocates. But lawmakers must find some middle ground this next session. If not, this drug will ruin many more families. "This drug leads to failure in relationships ... in jobs." Mary Holley, Mothers Against Methamphetamine Lacey's Spring Alabama's No. 1 threat Dangers of crystal methamphetamine: 1. Destroys the pleasure center of the brain 2. Causes memory loss 3. Causes you to lose your teeth 4. Causes paranoia 5. Causes irregular heartbeat 6. Decreases appetite 7. Causes aggressive and violent behavior 8. Cooking it contaminates everything it comes in contact with 9. Increases respiration 10. Causes scabs on arms, face and legs - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.