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...meth is apparently a hell of a drug...
November 16, 2011 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Caution: Disturbing, potentially triggering and possibly NSFW content: The Meth Project, known for their gritty, confrontational and disturbing online and print ads, which graphically depict the effects of methamphetamine drug use, launched a new, interactive website last week. The revamped site gives visitors an opportunity to share their own stories. They've also premiered four new 30-second television PSA's by the director of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, Darren Aronofsky: E.R., Deep End, Losing Control and Desperate. (Via)

Movieline:
The Meth Project is an ongoing campaign that previously tapped other high profile filmmakers to create spots. Each “Wave” of shorts approaches the subject with a theme or tagline, showcasing different styles. You can find an extensive collection of previous shorts by Aronofsky (Wave 3 & 6), Inception DP Wally Pfister (Wave 5), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Wave 4), and Tony Kaye (Wave 1 & 2) at the Meth Project Foundation website.
posted by zarq (103 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Do anti-drug ads always come off as an inducement, or is that just me?
posted by clarknova at 8:58 AM on November 16, 2011


It's interesting as a film-making exercise, but those ads are a joke. Drugs aren't a horror show for most people that use them, at least not at first, and maybe not ever. What they are is a constant drain on your cash, time, relationships and just your life in general. There's a line out there somewhere that you cross when you go from casual user to 'junkie' and it's usually pretty hard to tell you've crossed it until you're well over it. By the time you get to the point you are in these ads, though, you should fucking well know that you have a problem, but it's already too late.

I think a more effective ad campaign would focus on the more realistic and commonly shitty things that people do for drugs. You want to stop people from doing meth? You film some tweaker babbling about bullshit for 10 minutes so you know how fucking boring it makes you.

The "but on meth it is" and "Meth: not even once" scare campaigns are already jokes to the target audience.
posted by empath at 8:59 AM on November 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


It seems that Faces of Meth hasn't added anything new in awhile, but there are some pretty stark examples. I wonder about the effectiveness of Aronofsky's new spots. There's a kind of dramatic tension there that to me seems to have the possibility of diffusing the urgency of avoiding meth. A user is generally going to think they are immune to the effects or that they are smarter than those other users who screw up. I suppose they're targeting people who haven't picked it up yet, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:02 AM on November 16, 2011


Requiem For A Dream really depressed me until I realized that it was so ludicrous that it could only be satire.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:03 AM on November 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


empath: " The "but on meth it is" and "Meth: not even once" scare campaigns are already jokes to the target audience."

Yes, and there's been a lot of debate over the years whether scare tactic ads are ineffective.

And yet: "Since the Meth Project launched in 2006, meth use has declined 65 percent in Arizona, 63 percent in Montana and 52 percent in Idaho -- decreases largely credited to the Project's hard-hitting TV and radio ads." So either it is an effective campaign, or there are other unaccounted-for factors at work.
posted by zarq at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


> Requiem For A Dream really depressed me until I realized that it was so ludicrous that it could only be satire.

Well, "The Fountain" had to be satire of reincarnation. It couldn't have been earnest, could it have?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:05 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't doubt that meth addiction is ugly, but I find it hard to reconcile the notion that its use is simultaneously common (1.4 million users, according to PBS) it ravages every life it touches. I probably run in different circles but I suspect the more likely explanation is that many people's lives are compromised but they are still outwardly functional while using drugs.
posted by dgran at 9:07 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


> decreases largely credited to the Project's hard-hitting TV and radio ads."

I'm curious who is making that claim, and with what non-correlative evidence. It could just as easily be attributed to "Breaking Bad".
posted by Burhanistan at 9:07 AM on November 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


You want to stop people from doing meth? You film some tweaker babbling about bullshit for 10 minutes so you know how fucking boring it makes you.

I don't know whether this would work any better (do people ever take health advice?), but at least it wouldn't undermine the credibility of services that are meant to provide drug advice. For the majority of people, anti-drug scare messages are falsified the first time they meet a user of that particular drug, partly because they're so extreme, and partly because they're presented as the norm.
posted by howfar at 9:09 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


These Aronofsky ads bug me in the same ways that Requiem For A Dream bugs me: they're harrowing as fuck, but think about them for more than a second and you seem to just be looking at drug hysteria, unstated assumptions and manipulation. If you're making this experience out to be representative of meth addicts, then:

-preying on homophobic response by showing a young (presumably straight) man engaging in prostitution with an older man seems problematic. I'm sure it happens, but the disgust I'm supposed to feel is directed more towards the admakers than what's appearing onscreen.

-the young woman freaking out with slashed wrists - I feel like there needs to be some explanation that links meth with "you're gonna try to commit suicide." Maybe suicide is linked to meth addiction, but audiences aren't reading academic studies about this and the ad leads to more questions than answers. What about meth is going to make me so depressed or out of control that I'll kill myself?

"Faces Of Meth" is still the most effective anti-drug ad I've ever seen. Audiences are smart and can tell the difference between dramatic, histrionic scare tactics, and the unvarnished and sad truth.
posted by naju at 9:10 AM on November 16, 2011 [11 favorites]




You want to stop people from doing meth? You film some tweaker babbling about bullshit for 10 minutes so you know how fucking boring it makes you.


I've always agreed with that. I found the destructive romanticism of drugs alluring, but the reality to be kind of dirty, boring, and depressing. Hence the failure of films like Requiem to really trigger me.



I don't doubt that meth addiction is ugly, but I find it hard to reconcile the notion that its use is simultaneously common (1.4 million users, according to PBS) it ravages every life it touches.


Some people try it once or twice and walk away. But I wouldn't underestimate it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:10 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, something worth mentioning but I didn't include in the post: Commenters on Towleroad have pointed out that the "Desperate" ad may promote homophobia. Someone there also pointed out that the "Boyfriend" PSA depicts a similar scenario, between a man and a young woman.

Also, I couldn't include this link in the main post without making the whole thing sound like I was shilling for the site, but ad agency credits for the Aronofsky ad can be seen at MediaBistro.
posted by zarq at 9:12 AM on November 16, 2011


Requiem For A Dream really depressed me until I realized that it was so ludicrous that it could only be satire

Requiem For A Dream makes a lot more sense if you look at it as a modern remake of Reefer Madness.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:20 AM on November 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


Burhanistan: " I'm curious who is making that claim, and with what non-correlative evidence. It could just as easily be attributed to "Breaking Bad"."

Surprisingly, wikipedia has what appears to be a thorough breakdown of the situation in Montana. Note that different sources disagree on whether the campaign is effective.
posted by zarq at 9:20 AM on November 16, 2011


Hey you know what would be a GREAT MESSAGE!?!?! No one would EVER do drugs again after this one. Ok..hear me out...first, you get a frying pan. Then you get an egg. And then you crack the egg in the pan. And then you get like Darth Vader or Downtown Julie Brown or like House or someone the kids really dig, and you get them to look into the camera really serious, like someone just ate their cookies, and they say "THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS".

Man, that would END it, man.
posted by spicynuts at 9:21 AM on November 16, 2011 [18 favorites]


I kind of liked the "meth song" one from the 90s. I don't think it's liked to the Meth Project, but I didn't spend much time looking around.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:25 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


zarq wrote, And yet: "Since the Meth Project launched in 2006, meth use has declined 65 percent in Arizona, 63 percent in Montana and 52 percent in Idaho -- decreases largely credited to the Project's hard-hitting TV and radio ads." So either it is an effective campaign, or there are other unaccounted-for factors at work.

Mark Anderson, an economist and assistant professor at Montana State University, had a publication in the Journal of Health Economics published last year entitled "Does information matter? The effect of the Meth Project on meth use among youths". The abstract reads:

Abstract: Are demand-side interventions effective at curbing drug use? To the extent demand-side programs are successful, their cost effectiveness can be appealing from a policy perspective. Established in 2005, the Montana Meth Project (MMP) employs a graphic advertising campaign to deter meth use among teens. Due to the MMP’s apparent success, seven other states have adopted Meth Project campaigns. Using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS), this paper investigates whether the MMP reduced methamphetamine use among Montana’s youth. When accounting for a preexisting downward trend in meth use, effects on meth use are statistically indistinguishable from zero. These results are robust to using related changes of meth use among individuals without exposure to the campaign as controls in a difference-in-difference framework. A complementary analysis of treatment admissions data from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) confirms the MMP has had no discernable impact on meth use.

---

Here is a local newspaper article describing the study (here). Basically, Anderson's study suggests that the declines in meth were because of the "other unaccounted-for factors" that zarq suggested. The main cause for declines in meth use at this time was the federal Combat Methamphetamine Act of 2005 which became effective in 2006. Turns out, if drug producers cannot acquire the precursors to produce meth - namely, pseudoephedrine or ephedrine - they cannot produce meth. And there was a temporary reduction in their access that occurred with CMA that was coincidental to Montana Meth Project's ad campaigns.
posted by scunning at 9:26 AM on November 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Reefer Madness is only an hour long but seems to last much longer.
posted by swift at 9:28 AM on November 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


> And there was a temporary reduction in their access that occurred with CMA that was coincidental to Montana Meth Project's ad campaigns.

That makes a lot more sense. I remember when you could buy bottles of Mini-Thins (packed full of pseudo) at most any convenience store.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:29 AM on November 16, 2011


scunning, many thanks for that info! Very good to know.
posted by zarq at 9:29 AM on November 16, 2011


I love how the same people who strongly believe in supply-side economics push demand-side programs for cutting drug use.

Make it harder to make and sell methamphetamines, and gut a majority of the illegal drug industry by legalizing marijuana, and you should be good to go.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:34 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS),

Behavioural surveys of the general population are a pretty useless way of estimating the prevalence of illicit drug use in a population.
posted by docgonzo at 9:35 AM on November 16, 2011


I love how the same people who strongly believe in supply-side economics push demand-side programs for cutting drug use.

Make it harder to make and sell methamphetamines, and gut a majority of the illegal drug industry by legalizing marijuana, and you should be good to go.


Marijuana isn't really a substitute. Making it harder to make and sell meth only raises the prices (and profits) and increases the violence associated with it, or pushes people to use other stimulants.
posted by empath at 9:38 AM on November 16, 2011


Methamphetamine is a tool that should only be used when you have 48 hours of work that needs to be done in 24 hours. It is not Fun, it is not Pleasant, and it is undoubtedly Bad For You. But ingested in small doses it will definitely help you conquer sleep. In anything more than small doses, though, you'll find yourself taking apart your microwave for no goddamn reason. So it's pretty much more trouble than it's worth.

That there are people who use the stuff "recreationally" boggles my mind.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:39 AM on November 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


docgonzone wrote, Behavioural surveys of the general population are a pretty useless way of estimating the prevalence of illicit drug use in a population.

See the last sentence of the abstract I posted: "A complementary analysis of treatment admissions data from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) confirms the MMP has had no discernable impact on meth use."

If you don't see it in TEDS and you don't see it in self-reported drug use, where else should you look? He could look at hospitalizations, but my reading of this literature is that TEDS and hospitalizations are highly correlated for meth.
posted by scunning at 9:39 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok so I just watched the ER one. Explain to me how using a smoking hot jessica alba clone with perfect hair, exquisitely fashioned smeared eye liner, etc is supposed to do anything other than make this look cool and sexy. Are the other ones more in line with reality?
posted by spicynuts at 9:40 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's surprising to me that making it tougher to get pseudo in the store significantly lowers the production of meth. I had always assumed that most of the producers either purchased the raw chemicals through gray/black markets, or had the pills stolen for them from stock rooms or supply trucks.
posted by KGMoney at 9:40 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Methamphetamine is a tool that should only be used when you have 48 hours of work that needs to be done in 24 hours.

Provigil is way better for this, and has a lot fewer side effects.

It is not Fun, it is not Pleasant

It causes a dopamine rush like any other stimulant. For people that enjoy that feeling (ie, addicts), it's a pretty pure euphoric rush.
posted by empath at 9:41 AM on November 16, 2011


> It's surprising to me that making it tougher to get pseudo in the store significantly lowers the production of meth.

I would think it would only make it tougher for the two-bit meth cook with a ramshackle lab in his dining room. While there are probably no ultra-slick operations like Gus Fring's basement superlab, there are probably more organized manufacturers who do get their pseudo much further up the supply chain than a retail store.

Speaking of meth "superlabs", here's one raided in Mexico. It's pretty spartan and depressing compared to the shiny chemistry playground Walter White had.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:45 AM on November 16, 2011


You want to stop people from doing meth? You film some tweaker babbling about bullshit for 10 minutes so you know how fucking boring it makes you.

This is exactly what the drug film Spun does.
posted by steamynachos at 9:46 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do anti-drug ads always come off as an inducement, or is that just me?
posted by clarknova at 11:58 AM on November 16 [+] [!]


The thought of losing my virginity in a filthy bathroom is a sufficient deterrent to me.

Actually, that ad was the most effective - I think because the thought of being used sexually is more scary (to me) than scars or weightloss. Also, because it leaves most of it to your imagination.
posted by jb at 9:48 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you don't see it in TEDS and you don't see it in self-reported drug use, where else should you look?

I don't think there is a good place to look. Randomized telephone surveys, treatment counts, arrests, convictions: All of the typically-used sources have severe selection biases. Add to that the fact that drug users are criminalized and thus have a pretty strong motive to not declare drug use to authorities. Add to that the fact that drug use is not an immutable characteristic but a time-varying behaviour, meaning that any estimate of prevalence is going to be dependent on the definition of drug use. Ever? Any time in the last six months? Any time (other than cannabis) in the last six months?

The question at hand is whether these education-based interventions are effective at reducing illicit drug use. In a systematic review of PSAs, "the authors identified seven randomised trials (n=5428) and four observational trials (n=17 404). Only one randomised trial showed a statistically significant benefit of PSAs on intention to use illicit drugs, and two found evidence that PSAs significantly increased intention to use drugs. A meta-analysis of eligible randomised trials demonstrated no significant effect. Observational studies showed evidence of both harmful and beneficial effects."
posted by docgonzo at 9:49 AM on November 16, 2011


"Requiem For A Dream really depressed me until I realized that it was so ludicrous that it could only be satire."

ASS TO ASS!
posted by klangklangston at 9:56 AM on November 16, 2011


The thought of losing my virginity in a filthy bathroom is a sufficient deterrent to me.

So you were open to the idea of using meth before you saw the ad? And convinced by the ad that losing your virginity in a toilet was a likely outcome of that?

You may be more persuadable than average.
posted by howfar at 9:56 AM on November 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


docgonzo :All of the typically-used sources have severe selection biases. Add to that the fact that drug users are criminalized and thus have a pretty strong motive to not declare drug use to authorities. Add to that the fact that drug use is not an immutable characteristic but a time-varying behaviour, meaning that any estimate of prevalence is going to be dependent on the definition of drug use. Ever? Any time in the last six months? Any time (other than cannabis) in the last six months?

The NSDUH addresses many of these objections. The sampling is by dwelling units across the US, is conducted in person, the results year by year show stability, the questions inquire about drug use in terms of recency. Underreporting is definitely a factor, but as you said, criminalization of drug users makes that a universal phenomenon in any survey instrument.
posted by daksya at 10:06 AM on November 16, 2011


I think if you compare the number of people that lost their virginity in a toilet due to Jack Daniels vs Meth, we could better focus these adverts.
posted by spicynuts at 10:07 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Still my favorite.

Oooh, meth. Oooooooh meth!
posted by Afroblanco at 10:07 AM on November 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Spun was really an effective anti-meth message for me, just because I realized how annoying and pathetic I would be if I were on it.

Faces of Meth is a good one too, because Americans are nothing if not vain, and showing how much a drug is going to destroy your looks goes right to the heart of that.
posted by Fister Roboto at 10:08 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


methafilter
posted by nikoniko at 10:30 AM on November 16, 2011


It is not Fun, it is not Pleasant, and it is undoubtedly Bad For You.

That suggests you are at low risk for addiction to methamphetamine. Other people try it and their eyes light up: "This is awesome", they'll say. "I feel terrific, full of energy, my brain is sharp, I'm on top of the world!" And that's usually fine, at first, but over time it becomes increasingly difficult to apply the knowledge that it is "Bad For You" (in the abstract, in the long run, so they say, but hey, maybe that's bullshit like all the other anti-drug propaganda, who knows?, anyway it's great right now, let's do another line...)

Different people's brains work different ways. Some people don't like alcohol, and don't really understand why other people enjoy it. Most people enjoy alcohol but have no trouble putting the bottle down when it's time to do something else. But there's that few percent who really like alcohol, and those are the ones who, when things line up just wrong, fall over the edge and become alcoholics. It seems to be the same way with methamphetamine: there are some people for whom that feeling tickles their brain exactly right.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:42 AM on November 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


The best anti-drug ad I have ever seen is the meth addicted homseless man in my neighborhood who has begged me for money for the past six years. When we first moved in, I would have guessed his age to be 25. Now I would guess he is nearing 60.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:44 AM on November 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stagger Lee: "Requiem For A Dream really depressed me until I realized that it was so ludicrous that it could only be satire."

ASS ON ASS.

That is all.
posted by falameufilho at 10:51 AM on November 16, 2011


howfar: "The thought of losing my virginity in a filthy bathroom is a sufficient deterrent to me.

So you were open to the idea of using meth before you saw the ad? And convinced by the ad that losing your virginity in a toilet was a likely outcome of that?

You may be more persuadable than average.
"

All the more reason for someone not to use meth.
posted by symbioid at 10:53 AM on November 16, 2011


Timely enough, the guy who plays Badger on "Breaking Bad" showed up on Reddit for an AMA.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:53 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Methamphetamine is a phamaceutical product and is prescribed to children.
posted by telstar at 10:56 AM on November 16, 2011


And another thing: the chemistry part of Breaking Bad is 100% bullshit.
posted by telstar at 11:00 AM on November 16, 2011


Wow, you don't say?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:02 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can anyone explain to me why the PSA with the male prostitute "promotes" homophobia?
posted by falameufilho at 11:04 AM on November 16, 2011


Can anyone explain to me why the PSA with the male prostitute "promotes" homophobia?

Part of what makes it work is that you're supposed to react like "Whoa, gross, he had to have sex with a MAN!"
posted by milk white peacock at 11:07 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think that these are good adds, its unfortunate that any adds have so little credibility with the people who need this particular message most. As a society we've forced our institutions to transparently lie to us and our children for so long about so many largely benign substances for pathetically classist and and racist reasons, how can we expect kids and vulnerable people to believe us now when the danger is real? Meth truly is the monster that has come now that our Puritan instincts have cried wolf so many times that no one listens.

"The main cause for declines in meth use at this time was the federal Combat Methamphetamine Act of 2005 which became effective in 2006. Turns out, if drug producers cannot acquire the precursors to produce meth - namely, pseudoephedrine or ephedrine - they cannot produce meth."

The terrifying thing is that now that we've chased the junkies out of the supply market, with the demand still there we will only see the niche filled by organized crime with much scarier, prolific, and brutal results. The Mexican Mafia has already learned that diversifying their business model across substances using profits from pot leads to more reliable income and a diffusion of risk. A new and scary business model is already starting to replace the home-cooked one, where organized criminals are purchasing pseudo-ephedrine directly from the producers in India and China* doing the trivial amount of processing necessary**, and smuggling the comparatively densely valued product*** into the United States.

As it is, this is a powerfully lucrative and currently under exploited business model, even compared to other drugs, and we're going to be seeing an explosion in availability and crash in price.

*Its trivially cheap to produce at scale in yeast, and there business is business.
**Anyone with the most basic of understandings of O Chem can cheaply and efficiently do the one step reaction with proper equipment. There is a reason even junkies can manage it without proper equipment.
***An ounce of meth on the street still values up to nearly 10 times as much as an ounce of gold despite a continuous inflation adjusted decrease in price since the 80s
posted by Blasdelb at 11:12 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


falameufilho: "Can anyone explain to me why the PSA with the male prostitute "promotes" homophobia?"

Comments on the Towleroad post discuss it. Basically, there's concern it's promoting a destructive meme which tars gay men as sexual predators.
posted by zarq at 11:18 AM on November 16, 2011


Many (I haven't watched them all, so I won't say "most") of these ads make the point that the meth user will do horrible disgusting things in order to get the drug. But the primary reason the user has to do these nasty acts is that meth is expensive, and if you don't happen to be in a situation where you make a comfortable living, a $200 or $300 binge on meth (which is a very intense experience that continues for two or three days nonstop, mind you) is unaffordable. There's also the point that since the drug is illegal, you have to deal with some level of criminal to obtain it, and, again, the guy who's always able to pay in cash and throw in an extra 20 bucks for carfare is going to get to deal with a nicer class of criminal.

So the primary issue here, it seems to me, is economic: the kid hustles a middle-aged skeeve because that's the easiest way to make money to buy something he wants. (Note, too, that the main reason the kid can charge more for sex than for, say, bagging groceries, is that prostitution, like meth, is illegal.)

People don't (generally) prostitute themselves for liquor or tobacco. (If they do turn tricks for stuff like that, they're probably tricking for food and a place to sleep as well.) Why? Well, perhaps because the legal nature of these intoxicants (or, in the case of the food and shelter, these necessities) means that the price settles at a level that is affordable for most people who want these things.

Thus it seems to follow that if you're really all that grossed out by nubile young guys having sex with older, less attractive guys, you would make the product the nubile youths desire more easily affordable, and, while you're at it, make sure said youths have the opportunity to work at a job that pays a fair wage. If Nubie can support his taste for meth working in a Fairway, he's not going to have to blow the old guys unless he really feels like it.

And, remember, he may really feel like it, and it's no business of mine if he does.
posted by La Cieca at 11:24 AM on November 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


KGMoney wrote: It's surprising to me that making it tougher to get pseudo in the store significantly lowers the production of meth. I had always assumed that most of the producers either purchased the raw chemicals through gray/black markets, or had the pills stolen for them from stock rooms or supply trucks.

d-Methamphetamine is produced using a couple of different methods, but in either of them, you always need ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. You can read about it in Bovett's law review piece on "Meth Epidemic Solutions" in more detail.

But, essentially, without either ephedrine or pseudo, the producer cannot manufacture d-meth. (Interestingly, on Breaking Bad, they switch to the production of dl-meth or l-meth which uses a different methodology that doesn't depend on pseudo - I can't recall right now which).

In the late 1980s, the US passed a chemical diversion and trafficking act which required distributors (domestic ones anyway) to keep records of their imports and exports. The pharmaceutical lobby was successful in de-fanging most of it though, as a loophole was introduced in the bill in which tablets of pseudo or ephedrine were exempt. Not surprisingly, meth producers just purchased tablets instead. In 1995, the DEA was successful in getting that changed and ephedrine became regulated. Meth purity plummeted and the real price of a pure gram of d-meth quadrupled. The effect was temporary, as drug producers switched to pseudo - still unregulated tablets. In 1997, late in the year, a second law was passed that the covered (partially) pseudo tablets. Purity fell again and real prices rose, lasting this time around 18 months. Then purity returned.

Long story short, the meth production depends on the access, and the US can domestically regulate access because pseudoephedrine is produced by only around 12 labs internationally. That's what makes meth so unique - the supply-side interdictions are unusually effective and disruptive because unlike agricultural narcotics like heroin or cocaine, meth is synthetic and therefore the inputs are not competitive. The output is competitive - there are no barriers to entry - but for whatever reason, the huge fixed costs needed for a lab to produce ephedrine/pseudo blocks entry. So block access to that concentrated market, you address the output market.

But, the problem appears to be that the elasticity of demand for inputs is inelastic in the shortrun and nearly infinitely elastic in the longrun. That is, after 1997, even though it was difficult to get tablets in the US, it was not difficult to get it in Mexico. Law enforcement intelligence suggested after 1997 regulations, the domestic production of meth became very amateurish, with jsut a lot of mom and pop-style "stores" using over the counter Sudafed, and large scale operations ("superlabs") was in Mexico where it was nearly unregulated entirely. The Combat Methamphetamine Act of 2005 was a culmination of around 30 some-odd state experiments on retail controls at the pharmacy level, and they did appear to be effective because the producers domestically were basically local amateurs. They were just regular people making it for themselves and selling off to the market what they didn't consume.

The impact of these laws on meth production, prices and purity is mixed though. The Anderson (2010) study shows imo that the demand-side interventions in Montana were spurious. It was actually the federal pseudo controls implemented with CMA. But what you see across all the studies is that the devil is in the details - some of the so-called supply interdictions are utterly impotent and some are very effective (see this 2011 Health Economics article for instance), but it's not clear how effective they are at permanently reducing production. Mexico banned all imports of pseudo in 2006-2007, for instance, and since then, meth lab seizures have been rising in the US. Two states (Mississippi and Oregon) have successfully scheduled pseudo so that consumers have to have a doctor's prescription to acquire Sudafed or any other medical product containing pseudo; meth labs in both states fell like a rock even while around them meth labs have risen. Some states are passing laws that electronically share customer information but those don't appear to be doing a whole lot. Yet they are "supply-side".

I think the story is that blocking customer's ability to purchase pseudo will be the only way to get meth down. Can we do that permanently if drug producers can substitute to other states or other countries for access? That's an unknown at this point.
posted by scunning at 11:27 AM on November 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


zarq: "Comments on the Towleroad post discuss it. Basically, there's concern it's promoting a destructive meme which tars gay men as sexual predators."

It's insane. Many men, gay or straight, pay for sex. Very few women do it. If a male is desperate for drugs, he very likely will have to sell his body to a male. What's disgusting is being forced selling your body for money to feed a habit.

Sure looks like concern trolling to me.
posted by falameufilho at 11:30 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's the saying that goes something like 'make a list of things you wouldn't do for any amount of money and then once you have a serious drug problem this list is just a starting point and the dollar amounts are surprisingly low' - or something like that. I think I read it here.
posted by bquarters at 11:33 AM on November 16, 2011


I find it hard to reconcile the notion that its use is simultaneously common (1.4 million users, according to PBS) it ravages every life it touches.

Obviously this is anecdotal evidence, but I grew up in a meth-lab-heavy part of rural CA, and meth is some seriously bad shit. I'm talking packs of strung-out, toothless addicts camped out by the highway; way-above-national-average meth-related ER visits; driving through the country and literally smelling meth labs on the wind. (An unmistakable combo of Lysol and burning plastic, with a hint of melted candy.) So I'm going to say, that no, meth doesn't ravage every life it touches, but the percentage is really high compared to, say, cocaine or heroin. Meth also causes physical damage (like massive tooth decay) that lingers even if the user has been clean for years. And the labs blow up/catch fire pretty regularly, killing everyone inside and spewing chemicals everywhere. It's bad news.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 11:38 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Much of the meth epidemic in America can be traced directly back to Lori Arnold - and yes, she's the sister of actor Tom Arnold. Her story (and the havoc it wreaked of the city of Oelwein, Iowa - home of portable meth labs on bicycles) is told in Methland, a book I highly recommend reading (or giving a teen you'd like to scare into never trying it).

And upper and even lower-middle class people addicted to meth usually pay for it via white-collar crime: 1) taking out credit cards in their children's and dead relative's names (or mail-based identity theft) to pay for life essentials other than drugs, to free up the maximum amount of available cash to pay for their fix; 2) embezzlement; 3) money-laundering operations; and 4) stealing goods from big-box stores and returning them to competitors or locations other than the one which they boosted the goods from. Those smartphone bar code scanners have made it trivially easy for them to do this even as they travel through unfamiliar cities/areas.

Not to mention the various charity-based scams, Craigslist "miscellaneous jobs" that get paid in pills, breaking and entering, lifting pseudoephedrine-based meds from open houses hosted by Realtors, and so on. I wonder why they always go straight to the lowest common denominator in these PSAs (prostitution)? Probably because they don't want to teach 13-year-olds the methods I've listed here.

A hustle is a hustle is a hustle in the drug addict's world, and trading sex for drugs is usually the last resort (as far as I know, anyway).
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:39 AM on November 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


tougher to get pseudo in the store

This bugs the hell out of me. I live in a small town, i have severe allergies to smoke and other very common things (grass especially, when people are mowing, i have a hard time outside), and if i am around friends who smoke (a good chunk of them), i have a hard time breathing. One of the only things that helped, was that. Now i have to worry if i need more, i will be reported for something.
posted by usagizero at 11:39 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm curious who is making that claim, and with what non-correlative evidence. It could just as easily be attributed to "Breaking Bad".

I've started watching this show on Netflix and am currently in Season 2. I was surprised to read this because so far there hasn't been much in terms of the effects of meth on end users. I mean, they don't exactly make characters like Skinny Pete and Badger glamorous, but aside from Wendy and the ATM incident you don't see too much in terms of horror stories and you still sort of cheer for the main characters, who are producers and dealers, through their misadventures.
posted by Hoopo at 11:43 AM on November 16, 2011


scunning Two states (Mississippi and Oregon) have successfully scheduled pseudo so that consumers have to have a doctor's prescription to acquire Sudafed or any other medical product containing pseudo; meth labs in both states fell like a rock even while around them meth labs have risen.

I would be interested, though, to see what the stats are in those states for meth use, meth use-related arrests, meth-related emergency room visits, that kind of thing. Closing down local meth labs, while it's understandably something you want to do, doesn't necessarily correlate to shutting down supply. Meth dealers can drive across state lines, and so can meth customers.

bquarters 'make a list of things you wouldn't do for any amount of money and then once you have a serious drug problem this list is just a starting point and the dollar amounts are surprisingly low'

Substitute "once you are homeless" in that sentence.
posted by La Cieca at 11:44 AM on November 16, 2011


> I've started watching this show on Netflix and am currently in Season 2. I was surprised to read this

Wait 'til you see what chaos meth indirectly wreaks on the whole city!

No, I was just using that as a counter-example since the agency responsible for the Project Meth thing seemed to have been taking credit for something without any real proof.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:45 AM on November 16, 2011


"People don't (generally) prostitute themselves for liquor or tobacco."

A couple weeks ago I had a woman on the street offer me a handjob for some cigarettes.

"Uh, oh, sorry, I quit."

Still, I'm pretty sure she was out of her fucking gourd when she offered (either on something, or just mentally ill).
posted by klangklangston at 11:45 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why did you give up handjobs?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:46 AM on November 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


"Sure looks like concern trolling to me."

That's not what concern trolling means. Concern trolling is when you say, "I would support this, but I have these concerns…" You see frequent examples of it in Occupy Wall Street threads, where people would support the occupiers if they weren't so inconvenient or if there wasn't one black bloc douche per every thousand people or whatever.
posted by klangklangston at 11:47 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


But the primary reason the user has to do these nasty acts is that meth is expensive

Compared to what? Isn't a big part of the problem the fact that meth is just about the cheapest high you can get, dollars-for-hours?
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:47 AM on November 16, 2011


"Why did you give up handjobs?"

Carpal tunnel.
posted by klangklangston at 11:47 AM on November 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I guess I was lucky. Although I grew up in the sixties and seventies, my Dad ran a methadone clinic for about 3 years and I hung out with recovering junkies. There is just something so unglamorous about people scratching themselves, chain smoking and fidgeting around that there was NOTHING that would get me to try drugs (except alcohol and pot. I had positive associations for those).

If I were in my teens again, I believe that seeing these folks in the ads would impress me as well (although that is total hind-sight.) The meth-teeth thing alone puts me off. The Faces of Meth was compelling, watching as people slowly wasted away.

I don't know though, kids today, they see so much fake stuff, on TV, Movies, Video Games the Intewebs, that I wonder if they can be impressed by anything, real or dramatic.

I know that recovering meth users relate that the drug was a miserable experience for them, yet it's so addictive and difficult to kick that success in rehab is something like 7%.

So what's the answer? Having your personal recovering addict hanging around telling you boring stories about what life was like when he/she was using? It worked for me.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:55 AM on November 16, 2011


I originally read it as this:

Caution: Disturbing, potentially triggering and possibly NSFW content: The Math Project

and I was hoping for some disturbing, NSFW math. Seriously. I need something spicy to perk up my Trigonometry studies.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:57 AM on November 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


What Nibbly Fang said. Meth has really devastated generations of people in rural California. A lot of hippy kids get into it and have the means (grow ops) to get enough cash to start manufacturing. Crime goes way up, especially armed robbery, ironically often of grow ops.

Worse, overall, is that Meth makes users into idiots and even if you get clean your options are curtailed because you're almost certainly more stupid than you were when you started, probably have a record and severe health problems. That's if you stop, Meth seems to snare a super high percentage of "recreational users".
posted by fshgrl at 12:06 PM on November 16, 2011


Mars Saxman I mean relatively expensive for a user who has very little money. As I note elsewhere, for someone of comfortable means, a lavish meth binge costs no more than an orchestra seat to The Book of Mormon. I suppose if flashy Broadway musicals made hopeless people in wretched small towns feel really good, you'd start seeing a lot more ticket prostitution. But in the meantime, people are using meth not because of some gay mad whim, but because it's more or less the only thing that can make them not miserable (note I don't say "happy") for a time.

If there's one thing that makes a person not-miserable and you make that one thing harder to obtain, then just maybe the person will look deeply into himself and say, "I need to find something more meaningful to complete my life." Or, far more likely, he's going to say, "now what do I need to do to get more meth?" (The answer to that question is eventually going to be "armed robbery.")

Making drugs expensive (via criminalization) is essentially a method of decreasing supply, the response to which if generally an increase in demand. That's because the essential reason for desiring for the drug (being miserable) has not been addressed.
posted by La Cieca at 12:09 PM on November 16, 2011


Burhanistan - I'm studying it now. We'll have a working paper to circulate in hopefully the next six months. Meth is one of my research areas, fyi. Here's my one study on it fwiw. The overall finding that we show is that the 1995 and 1997 interdictions had large reductions in purity causing prices (real prices) of a pure gram to rise - temporarily. We then used those episodes to estimate the causal effect of meth on foster care, and found large effects for neglect and abuse. The more recent version no longer finds robust evidence for the "incarceration" result, so ignore that. The elasticities were very different from what you'd get with simple correlations.

We're now studying the Oregon/Mississippi scheduling laws. In between the 10 other things I have to do. ugh. But overall, I have kind of become persuaded at the very least that even the domestic pseudo controls reduce domestic access. And depending on the nature of it, they impact the meth purity, and through that dilution, appear to affect other outcomes We find evidence for a reduction in foster care admissions during the episodes when meth use fell; Dobkin and Nicosia using only the 1995 intervention and California counties found also big decreases in meth but no change in crime. We'll be looking at crime too in our next study. But, point is, meth is unusual for even afforded one the ability to look at this. Ordinarily, you cannot detect any change in prices, purity or usage from law enforcement interventions. I suspect you'll see more studies on these interventions since the laws around them are controversial, and the ability to answer them with more confidence so high (which is not common).
posted by scunning at 12:10 PM on November 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


spinifex23: " and I was hoping for some disturbing, NSFW math. Seriously. I need something spicy to perk up my Trigonometry studies."

Ha! Sorry to disappoint you. :)
posted by zarq at 12:12 PM on November 16, 2011


Just once a testimonial or a memoir with someone who has done drugs all their life and is just fine.

Someone? Me?
posted by pianomover at 12:14 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Debatable.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:15 PM on November 16, 2011


As subtle as a drunk driving ad.
posted by cazoo at 12:18 PM on November 16, 2011


La Cieca - sorry, I think it was you that asked about the impact the laws had on usage. Totally missed that.

Yes, the meth producers can drive across state lines. The question is going to ultimately be the following:

1. Does "scheduling" pseudo (ie prescriptions) reduce meth labs in state? And if so, by how much and for how long?

2. Does scheduling increase meth labs elsewhere? And if so, by how much and for how long?

3. Does the reduction in meth labs cause a change in meth purity and prices?

4. Does the reduction in meth labs cause any change in meth usage?

5. Does the reduction in meth labs cause any change in the social costs from meth - such as emergency room visits, overdoses, foster care and child maltreatment, crime, environmental waste, and so on?

Meth labs going down is a benefit though, even if the answer is no that it reduces meth use. Meth labs are highly toxic sites requiring careful clean up, which is expensive and uses police resources. Those resources are already strapped. Meth is common in the rural counties of the US, too, so there's likely even less slack. So it's possible that so long as the imposition on consumers for having to get a doctor's note for Sudafed is not astronomical, that depending on the elasticity of supply of meths with regards to local access, even if it only reduced labs, it could be socially beneficial. But, if that's all it does - if all it does is shove meth labs from Mississippi into Alabama or Oregon into Washington - then it does reduce its effectiveness, I agree.
posted by scunning at 12:21 PM on November 16, 2011


Ruthless Bunny yet it's so addictive and difficult to kick that success in rehab is something like 7%.

Well, I'd like to see a cite for that. But assuming it's accurate, I have to ask: is the drug the only variable here? What sort of success rates for rehab for other substances do groups with similar demographics have? Maybe the real problem here is the lifestyle and situation of the average "problem" meth user: poor, isolated, underemployed, depressed, criminalized. Honestly, if I had all those issues going on, I would find it next to impossible to clean my kitchen, let alone take on the admittedly difficult task of staying off meth for a lifetime.

It would be interesting, then, to see statistics about alcoholism or eating disorders among that same meth-prone demographic. How successful is treatment (when treatment is even available) for these illnesses?
posted by La Cieca at 12:32 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Frontline's "The Meth Epidemic" is very well done.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:34 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


That makes a lot more sense. I remember when you could buy bottles of Mini-Thins (packed full of pseudo) at most any convenience store.

Not pseudo but plain old ephedrine. Which still can be bought in most cities in its botanical form as ma huang, which is the Chinese for ephedra.
posted by y2karl at 12:38 PM on November 16, 2011


scunning I'll stop ranting after this, I promise. But there's a bit of question-begging in Meth labs are highly toxic sites requiring careful clean up, which is expensive and uses police resources. Production of meth is not inherently "toxic"; rather, it's toxic because it's done in a makeshift, unregulated manner, and the reason it's done that way (instead of in some shiny clean safe lab) is because it's illegal. Adderall labs don't explode and require nasty cleanups, and the nice people at Teva Pharmaceuticals don't hallucinate about black helicopters or fire guns at each other, at least no more than the average for the minions of Big Pharma.

This is not to say that I am calling for over-the-counter sales of crystal meth at your local bodega, but I do think it's important to be rigorous about cause and effect in the context of a very serious public health issue.
posted by La Cieca at 12:46 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just once a testimonial or a memoir with someone who has done drugs all their life and is just fine.

That's the story of almost everyone you know. Just try finding someone who never drinks tea or coffee, has never smoked cigarettes, never drinks alcohol! I guess if you're a Mormon in Utah you probably know lots of people like that, but in the rest of the world they are few and far between. It's probably still possible to find people here in Seattle who have never smoked pot, but I bet that won't be true for the next generation.

There is no such thing as "doing drugs"; there are different drugs, with different effects, different user communities, interacting in different ways with different cultures. We keep hearing the tragic stories because they are dramatic and sometimes frightening; they make good media.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:17 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


La Cieca - it's not question begging technically. I'm not assuming the conclusion. I'm simply pointing out that conditional on laws that prohibit the distribution and consumption of methamphetamine, and in turn lead to amateur production of methamphetamine, a law which then makes it extremely costly to acquire the necessary precursors used in production would reduce the costs to law enforcement of cleaning up meth labs. I'm not even talking about meth lab explosions; meth labs, when they are discovered at all, are costly to clean up. They also impact homeowners through their impact on housing prices. It's realistic to ask what policies reduce the social costs of methamphetamine, and I think pointing out that even a law that only reduced police costs could be cost-effective.
posted by scunning at 1:26 PM on November 16, 2011


Do anti-drug ads always come off as an inducement, or is that just me? -clarknova

el_lupino and I had a conversation about that this morning after watching these. I think shock-value PSAs like this inevitably fail precisely because of their shock value - they can only really be shocking the first time. Due to the repetition they're subject to, they turn banal over time and then into jokes.
posted by jocelmeow at 1:36 PM on November 16, 2011


Other people try it and their eyes light up: "This is awesome", they'll say. "I feel terrific, full of energy, my brain is sharp...

Are you talking about methamphetamine or adderall?

(/serious)
posted by Justinian at 1:44 PM on November 16, 2011


scunning wrote: I think the story is that blocking customer's ability to purchase pseudo will be the only way to get meth down.

All's fair in the war on sick people?
posted by wierdo at 3:03 PM on November 16, 2011


tougher to get pseudo in the store

This bugs the hell out of me. I live in a small town, i have severe allergies to smoke and other very common things (grass especially, when people are mowing, i have a hard time outside), and if i am around friends who smoke (a good chunk of them), i have a hard time breathing. One of the only things that helped, was that. Now i have to worry if i need more, i will be reported for something.
posted by usagizero at 11:39 AM on November 16


Depends on the state, but the legal amount in IL is measured by the gram. I think it is 3. That's 3000mg, or 120 little red pills.
posted by gjc at 3:14 PM on November 16, 2011


Other people try it and their eyes light up: "This is awesome", they'll say. "I feel terrific, full of energy, my brain is sharp...

Are you talking about methamphetamine or adderall?

(/serious)
posted by Justinian at 1:44 PM on November 16


They are mostly the same thing. The meth part of methamphetamine just changes how it gets dispersed in the brain. The problem with meth abuse is that quality is suspect, and people take a LOT of it.

Which leads to a question I had: does anyone have any experience with taking Desoxyn for ADHD? That seems to be a hard thing to get decent google results for.
posted by gjc at 3:17 PM on November 16, 2011


La Cieca, here's one anecdotal data point: Someone I was very close to became heavily addicted to meth when he was still earning six figures and had international military security clearance, which allowed him to coast for several years and avoid jail (even with multiple warrants near the end). I was totally unaware of the problem until it was severe due to his nonstop traveling, so yes, there IS such a thing as a "functional drug addict" who can "pass" in normal society. What people see in these meth campaigns and commercials is not what happens to everybody... but it IS what eventually happens with daily use over a period of time. Each individual's different, of course.

I witnessed some horrifying things in his presence while he was tweaking, and let me tell you - I wouldn't wish stuff like that on ANYONE. Stuff I'm not comfortable sharing in a public forum.

Eventually, his life became enough of a nightmare that he did become homeless, but he managed to turn things around, pay off his massive debt, clear his legal obligations and now is more or less a happy, healthy person with a new family.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky, and many intelligent, interesting, and hardworking people get hooked once they're adults with careers for one reason or another - usually thinking "I'm smart enough to never let this become a problem."

And of course, once you've lost your job and your credit's in the crapper from trying to manage your habit once the money's all gone, the easiest answer if you're desperate to get more it to simply steal from another addict who you know won't be able to file a police report.

I can't imagine agencies will be making PSAs with balding, 47-year-old accountants picking pockets at the bus station to pay for meth anytime soon, though.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:19 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The WOD doesn't seem to be making a dent in this problem. Maybe it's time to - yet again - to conclude that law enforcement is not going to be the solution here, because many addicts are simply impervious to this approach. The WOD has extracted a horrific price in destroyed lives, and there is no end in sight. Why not try something else? I genuinely wonder how much more apparent the failure of WOD needs to be, before there's enough political will to stop this approach.
posted by VikingSword at 3:57 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I saw Black Swan the one thing that pissed me off was that in classic Aronofsky style, the protagonist's downward spiral is triggered by a momentary lapse in judgement which results in her taking a narcotic. But I pushed it aside as my own opinions colouring what was a perfectly legitimate narrative device, and surely Aronofsky isn't just grinding the same (illegal) drugs-are-bad-mkay axe over and over again, right?

Wrong. He really has that trite a conception of drug use. Christ, what an asshole.
posted by mek at 4:15 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


and I was hoping for some disturbing, NSFW math. Seriously. I need something spicy to perk up my Trigonometry studies.

Baby, you're looking good!! Let's integrate-I want to be the area beneath your curves!
posted by milarepa at 4:17 PM on November 16, 2011


concern trolling is like where you own a fishing company and you drag a big net over the ocean
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:27 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The WOD doesn't seem to be making a dent in this problem.

Why do you say that - it's clearly stated upthread that meth use has gone down because of restrictions on the ingredients.
posted by desjardins at 6:26 PM on November 16, 2011


Why do you say that - it's clearly stated upthread that meth use has gone down because of restrictions on the ingredients.

It appears that it's a temporary effect, and when it rebounds, it rebounds accompanied by all sorts of additional negative effects, such as: small domestic producers who cook this stuff for their own use plus a small surplus are eliminated, but after a temporary dip in supplies, in their place step in highly organized and violent criminal enterprises foreign and domestic - problems grow and are exported to destabilize other countries often on our very own border (and Mexico hardly needs additional destabilization). If one totes up the losses vs the gains, the calculus of WOD doesn't seem to make much sense.
posted by VikingSword at 6:35 PM on November 16, 2011


falameufilho: "It's insane. Many men, gay or straight, pay for sex. Very few women do it. If a male is desperate for drugs, he very likely will have to sell his body to a male. What's disgusting is being forced selling your body for money to feed a habit.

Sure looks like concern trolling to me.
"

I see klang already covered the concern trolling thing.

I tend to agree with you. But....

I'm not gay. I can't speak as a member of that community. But as an interested observant outsider, I think gay men in this country have been consistently vilified by the religious right in this country as pedophiles, sexual predators, unfit to raise children and/or get married, and a threat in various other ways to heterosexuals. It's not just the religious right, either.

I also tend to think that providing bigots with ammunition is a bad thing. So such devotion to realism isn't necessarily ideal here.
posted by zarq at 9:23 PM on November 16, 2011


If a male is desperate for drugs, he very likely will have to sell his body to a male.

As much as Aronofsky loves this cliche, no, sorry. Gay for pay isn't free money for desperate heterosexuals, despite how much disposable income we might have. Believe it or not, in any major city you have a lot of competition from sex workers who actually enjoy what they do. And it may be hard to understand but high-paying sex work is reliable, professional, and discreet, and typically does not involve the desperately addicted. An addict will just go through your wallet while you're in the bathroom and then dash.

The ad is also terribly ageist, as if the only reason a 20-something would want to sleep with an older man is for $$$. The audience is clearly supposed to understand that the sexual pairing is inherently revolting. Angry.
posted by mek at 10:10 PM on November 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


BitterOldPunk: Methamphetamine is a tool that should only be used when you have 48 hours of work that needs to be done in 24 hours.

Like driving a truck?
posted by maniabug at 6:47 AM on November 17, 2011


Maybe these ads just need the right audience to really shine. I emailed the Meth Project link to the Massachusetts governor who's about to pass his pet casino law.
posted by maniabug at 7:12 AM on November 17, 2011


I used to live in one of the most meth-intense cities in the midwest. One acquaintance of mine spent a month in the hospital because he inhaled anhydrous ammonia fumes. Another went to prison for 40 years for manufacture. People were always trying to talk me into cooking it because I seemed smart enough to follow directions, and since I was from another city I obviously had "sucker" written on my forehead.

The man who went to prison was 40 at the time. He won't be out until he's 80. This is because of mandatory minimums. Regardless of how bad for your health, what the law does to the small-time cook and dealer is far, far worse.

"But what about all those people he harmed?!?"

I knew dozens of meth users, most of whom were smoking his stuff. Practically all their problems stemmed from unemployment. The largest employer, John Deere, had just sacked its employees and hired half of them back at half their wages. The river shipping industry and the trades supported by it had vanished. The city was, and still is dying. Meth is what people do to kill time, or keep up with the longer hours our 'new' economy demands. The occasional predations of the police only exacerbate poverty, and do nothing to curb use.

...small domestic producers who cook this stuff for their own use plus a small surplus are eliminated, but after a temporary dip in supplies, in their place step in highly organized and violent criminal enterprises foreign and domestic...

Which is exactly what happened. Instead of local boys cooking it on a campsite by the river, it's all imported and sold by gangsters now. Hell, at least the local manufacturers were some kind of industry.
posted by clarknova at 9:02 AM on November 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Which leads to a question I had: does anyone have any experience with taking Desoxyn for ADHD? That seems to be a hard thing to get decent google results for.

Search around the ADHD forums, there's a decent amount of people that swear by it. Keep in mind, we're talking like 5-20mg/day to treat ADHD/narcolepsy. Some meth users with a serious habit (and tolerance) will use a couple hundred milligrams - at a time, intravenuously. I've heard of even higher amounts, but I never know how much credit to give them.

I had a friend who had a prescription for it once. He was also addicted to opiates at the time and in a bad place in general (I still cannot believe he got this prescription). Ended up going through most of it in a few days, passing out in his car, and getting arrested IIRC. I have ADHD and get prescribed dexedrine. I figured this was probably my only opportunity to experience Desoxyn and tried 5mg. It's hard to make a comparison on one small use, but it did seem a bit "clear-er", almost unnoticeable but still effective. My understanding is that a lot of the euphoria doesn't come into play until you're taking larger amounts, which trigger a sort of self-reinforcing cascade of dopamine.
posted by nTeleKy at 10:02 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


zarq: "I also tend to think that providing bigots with ammunition is a bad thing. So such devotion to realism isn't necessarily ideal here."

I see your point, but I don't think it is a valid criticism. And I think yes, this qualifies as a form of concern trolling: "I would stand behind this ad if it didn't provide ammunition for bigots", something that's completely unrelated to the ad itself specially considering the ad is not stereotyping homosexuals.
posted by falameufilho at 12:18 PM on November 17, 2011


You may as well speak your mind. Bigots will fashion their ammo out of anything.
posted by clarknova at 8:18 PM on November 17, 2011


I love meth. Without it we would not have Breaking Bad and Dawg: the Bounty Hunter.

These are extreme examples of lo/hi culture brought to you almost exclusively by meth.

In other news, rabies and herpes are also really, really great.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:58 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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