America s Breadbasket Crystal Meth

					Title:
America's Breadbasket: Crystal Meth

Word Count:
708

Summary:
We have property legislation regarding mold, and disclosure covering
asbestos and radon, but only voluntary warnings concerning exposure to
contaminants left behind after a meth lab has been dismantled. Home labs
are vanishing, but not the meth!


Keywords:
methamphetamine,addicts,property,contamination,methlab


Article Body:
Methamphetamine is an addictive drug made in home labs. When taken by
mouth, snorted, injected or smoked, it produces intense pleasure by
releasing excessive amounts of the brain‟s reward chemical – dopamine.
The euphoria that it produces is longer lasting than even cocaine, and
meth users are reluctant to give up this highly addictive central-
nervous-system stimulant.

As one addict explains, “Sex became an endurance sport I couldn‟t get
enough of -- I felt great so much of the time I couldn‟t even think of a
downside.”   If perfect euphoria is the ultimate self-indulgence, then
meth can be labeled Chemical Masturbation.

It‟s not enough that meth addicts lose brain cells but keep living
happily ever after; it‟s the wake they leave behind if they have been
„cooking‟ their own product.

We have property legislation regarding mold, and disclosure covering
asbestos and radon, but only voluntary warnings concerning exposure to
contaminants left behind after a meth lab has been dismantled. Home labs
are vanishing, but not the meth! Some states like Oklahoma are
voluntarily labeling ex-meth lab addresses, but for most unsuspecting
home buyers this still holds a “buyer beware” sticker.

Property owners are warned to exercise caution and use the safest
possible cleaning practices in dealing with a former meth lab residence
as there is no guarantee that it is one hundred percent free of remaining
contamination. Owners of apartments, mobile homes, sheds, garages,
vehicles and even hotel/motels are at risk. Tenants move in, set up
their lab because it doesn‟t take any chemistry expertise to manufacture
their own meth. Of the 32 chemicals that can be used in varying recipes,
one-third is extremely toxic.

When they move on or the lab is closed by authorities, it takes a special
team in moon suits and breathing equipment to cart off the chemicals and
equipment. Even with these measures, there is no guarantee that the
location will ever be fit to re-inhabit.
The owner is left with contamination of absorbent materials such as
carpeting, drapes and ductwork which can accumulate vapors that are
dispersed though the air during the cooking process. Further, are the
waste products generated during meth manufacture. Some of these products
are thrown along the sides of roads in or in neighboring back yards – but
most are dumped down sinks, drains, and toilets. They contaminate sewer
systems and are leached into streams and rivers.

The innocent victims of a meth lab are two: parents who are alcoholics
or addicted to other drugs may keep their lives glued together for
decades, but ice addicts rarely can. The “ice” children suffer neglect
as well as undeserved beatings from parental addicts that are out of
control. They play on carpets where meth residue is prevalent. Their
bedding, clothing and the very air they breath is contaminated with meth;
far more dangerous than second hand cigarette smoke.

The second innocent victim is the unsuspecting home buyer or renter who
tries to live in an ex-meth lab home. It may begin with a burning in the
respiratory tract, eyes, ears, or nose. Next comes severe burning of the
hands and feet accompanied by nausea and sleeplessness. As a renter the
answer is simple but the new home buyer is stuck with their mistake. If
you want to live, your only choice is to hang the key and suffer the
credit damage of a repo.

Even burning these buildings to the ground will not save the land on
which the lab was operating. Ground contamination is still unmeasured,
and it will take years to determine percentages that are supposedly
“acceptable” to human occupation. What began in 1973 by mid-western
bikers and truckers to stay awake on long journies, has now spread north
to Oregon and east to Atlanta (now referred to as Meth City).

Looking back, one can study a nuclear contamination map and see areas
that cannot be inhabited for years. It looks like spotty blemishes such
as Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. A meth contamination map looks like
measles. It‟s becoming obvious that we cannot incarcerate our way out of
this meth problem. Legislators in Washington, meanwhile, don't seem very
concerned. They prefer lining up to denounce the use of steroids in Major
League Baseball.


2006 Esther Smith

				
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posted:3/12/2010
language:English
pages:2
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