I’m about to do something I loath. I find it very distasteful to cite the Oregonian without attacking it. But one can find valuable things even in puddles of bile and vomitus. From the article:
Horrific murder no surprise in meth capital of USJan. 21, 2012, 6:03 p.m. PSTAP
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — When a 23-year-old Fresno woman fatally shot her two toddlers and a cousin, critically wounded her husband then turned the gun on herself last Sunday, investigators immediately suspected methamphetamine abuse in what otherwise was inexplicable carnage. It turned out the mother had videotaped herself smoking meth hours before the shooting…
A Bakersfield mother was sentenced Tuesday for stabbing her newborn while in a meth rage. An Oklahoma woman drowned her baby in a washing machine in November. A New Mexico woman claiming to be God stabbed her son with a screwdriver last month, saying, “God wants him dead.”
“Once people who are on meth become psychotic, they are very dangerous,” said Dr. Alex Stalcup, who treated Haight Ashbury heroin users in the 1960s, but now researches meth and works with addicts in the San Francisco Bay Area suburbs. “They’re completely bonkers; they’re nuts. We’re talking about very extreme alterations of normal brain function. Once someone becomes triggered to violence, there aren’t any limits or boundaries.”
The Central Valley of California is a hub of the nation’s methamphetamine distribution network, making extremely pure forms of the drug easily available locally. And law enforcement officials say widespread meth abuse is believed to be driving much of the crime in the vast farming region.
Chronic use of the harsh chemical compound known as speed or crank can lead to psychosis, which includes hearing voices and experiencing hallucinations. The stimulant effect of meth is up to 50 times longer than cocaine, experts say, so users stay awake for days on end, impairing cognitive function and contributing to extreme paranoia.
“Your children and your spouse become your worst enemy, and you truly believe they are after you,” said Bob Pennal, a recently retired meth investigator from the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.
I am not an expert on meth, but from what I’ve heard and read, it’s probably not a good idea to take up the habit. Perhaps it is possible to be a casual meth user, just as there are casual users of many other illegal drugs. But the analogy that came to my mind, and I’m certain I’m not the first to think of it, is that of a person who releases a dangerous beast into an inhabited area. If that animal injures somebody, the responsibility goes back to the person who released it.
To damage one’s mind, in such a way that he becomes a danger and nuisance to those around him, is the equivalent of releasing a dangerous beast upon the unsuspecting public. Whether he releases an actual beast, or turns himself into a beast, is immaterial; either way, people find themselves in danger because of his actions.
It is unfortunate that we must take government opinions, and studies, with a grain of salt. It is difficult to trust them. But if there were a substance that, upon repeated ingestion, caused people to become beasts, I can see how a ban on that substance could make sense.