Meth-Gators in Tennessee?
I came across quite the interesting headline while browsing the internet, as police in Loretto, Tennessee issued a warning in a Facebook post that the dangers of flushing drugs such as Methamphetamine could potentially result in meth-raged gators lurking about (NBCNews.com). The easy thing to do when reading such an article would be to picture a gator carrying out the stigmas attached with meth addiction. Would the gator be hiding behind trees in a paranoid state of confusion? Would he be running amuck trying to get his claws and teeth into anything that moved? I have not met too many meth addicts who would characterize their addictions as appetite heavy. The reality, in fact, is that meth addiction is a very serious issue for a lot of people out there struggling and unaware of which way to turn for a solution. Once I examined the article and post by the police department further there have, in fact, not been any actual cases of meth-gators. The overall message and point the department is making is that flushing dangerous drugs, such as methamphetamine, does present potentially harmful problems to the surrounding environment.
There are other causes for concern that are in the underlying message. First and foremost, this highlights how large of a problem the growing illicit meth industry has become in our communities. If the police are warning the community at large not to flush drugs such as methamphetamine down the toilet, there is likely a large enough percentage of that population struggling with meth addiction to warrant such a post. Asking addicts not to flush down their meth when police are at the door is not a very realistic proposition. The only real way I see to combat the behaviors that accompany addiction is to try and handle the addiction itself. I do believe that more drug education and raising awareness in our communities on the dangers and warning signs that accompany someone struggling with addiction is paramount if we are ever going to curve the addiction crisis in our country in a positive direction. Addicts are people that need our help, even when they are unaware of what getting help can do for their lives.
The second underlying issue I noticed relating to a person flushing drugs down a toilet is the problem created when drugs are not disposed of properly, including prescription drugs. Drug seeking comes in all different forms. A lot of us have heard news stories of burglaries from famous faces such as former professional athletes with pain killer addictions. This happens on a much more personal level in a lot of homes, whether it is kids raiding their parents medicine cabinets looking for old opiate prescriptions, or people taking advantage of an elderly person with more prescriptions than they know what to do with. Proper disposal of drugs can go a long way in reducing the number of available avenues for a person struggling and prolonging their addiction, as well as eliminating routes of experimentation by kids and teenagers. This again goes back to drug education and awareness in our communities to prevent us as a society contributing to drug abuse and addiction. One way of educating ourselves is to do the proper research on how to dispose of different drugs safely, which can be found here at fda.gov.
While gators may have not found their way into a meth problem just yet, our country has, and for anyone not paying attention now would be a good time to start. These addicts are people who often feel lost and abandoned by the very society so beaten down by the problems that arise from addiction. For every problem lies a solution and finding addicts the help they need no matter the difficulties or challenges that arise is a good first step in combating the addiction crisis. If you or anyone you know is seeking help, please reach out.