Meth Hits Home
Methamphetamine is a growing problem across the nation. Once mainly concentrated on the West Coast and the Mid-Southern states, meth is now in almost every town across America. Small communities, once untouched by drug addiction, are now breeding meth addicts, resembling a post-apocalyptic war zone. When speaking with a Narconon Suncoast staff member who grew up in “small-town America,” this is what she had to say about the growing meth problem:
“When I was little, growing up in a small town was the best. I ran through the woods with my friends, stayed up late looking at a star-filled sky and played outside until the streetlights came on. I had no idea of the dangerous things that were happening and would of never thought that my tiny town could be filled with anything but loving people and the smell of a bonfire.
“For the majority of my childhood, I didn’t pay much mind to what other people were doing. I thought they were all just like me; trying to have fun and enjoy life. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I started to notice the people of my town struggling.
“So many of them looked sick, with sunken faces and dark eyes. It was as if the apocalypse had hit and I was just now getting the memo. I soon realized that, even though it wasn’t the apocalypse there was something horrible happening to my home. It was the first time that the definition of the word “epidemic” had any kind of substance behind it for me because I was witnessing it happen to my friends and neighbors.
“It was evident that most of the people that I knew by first name had become addicted to meth. Late at night, the smell of it cooking filled the air with a thick, sickening stench that was almost impossible to ignore, and I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t noticed it before.
“When I was a junior in high school, I got job working at a gas station, it was open 24 hours a day and while I didn’t work night shifts I would sometimes stay until 11pm. Once it got dark, safety became a large concern for me and my coworkers. Addicts would come into the store and steal or cause a scene. They would get in fights inside or out in the parking lot. They would aggressively proposition me and my coworkers for sex and drugs. They would wait until my shift was over to follow me out to my car. I was terrified of these people.
“As my town grew, so did the problem. There wasn’t a weeks’ worth of time that went by that didn’t involve a police raid and my town name plastered all over the evening news. I was almost ashamed to wear it on my homecoming shirt. They said they were trying to control the issue but no one seemed to care much about my hometown, and I understood why. I thought all these addicts were trash, hopeless people that dirtied the streets I used to play on. I hated them so much and just wanted them all to go.
“It wasn’t until one of my friends started to struggle that I started to care about what was happening. She had faced so many problems in her life and turned to meth as a solution. She was so consumed by her addiction that we lost touch, she wouldn’t speak to me or anyone. I worried every day for her, not knowing if she was alive or dead.
“Thankfully for her, she survived her addiction and was able to get herself sober. Since then, so many people from my hometown have had their lives cut short because of methamphetamine that is so accessible.
“Small town America is portrayed as a sweet, wholesome place. A place where people don’t lock their doors and everyone smiles, waves and knows everyone by their first name. No one ever thinks to look beyond the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ exterior to see what is going on behind that quintessential mom and pop store.
“Even though there is a small chapel on the corner and a playground full of children across the street, in the shadowed area of all small towns there is a monster that hides in the blind spots of everyone’s rose colored glasses.
“It breaks my heart to think that small towns across America are filled with people who think like I used to. Who truly believe that there is no hope for a person who has developed a methamphetamine addiction, or any drug addiction for that matter.
“If I could say something to those people, it would be that people can absolutely change. Be it your parent, sibling, cousin or neighbor who is struggling, know and understand that they are not who they really are when they are using. Meth is a monster that takes over the user, turning them into something unsightly and rude, but they weren’t always that way. Nor do they have to stay that way. With the right people and the right drug treatment that person can get back to the mentality of that happy kid everyone once was.”