On today’s front page we chronicle some significant challenges presented by the use of methamphetamine in our community. The grip meth can take is very real, incredibly sad and undeniably destructive. The presence of this awful drug in any community is indeed a cancer.
And what statistics are bearing out is that Indiana is practically ground zero for the horrendous and devastating impact of methamphetamine addiction. In 2012 Indiana ranked third in the nation for the number of meth lab busts with more than 1,700, according to state police. This year police believe that number will climb to around 1,900 busts.
OUR COMMUNITY has also been greatly affected by this sad epidemic. Elkhart County ranked eighth out of 92 counties in 2012 in number of meth busts. Neighboring Noble and Kosciusko counties tied for seventh with 47 busts each.
The escalation of meth in Indiana is profound. In 2000 there were 314 meth lab incidents reported by state police. Four years later that figure jumped to 1,137. The 2012 statistics eclipsed 1,500 for the first time (a total of 1,726). Meth is highly addictive, relatively easy to make and not terribly expensive. That’s a bad combination.
THERE IS NO DOUBT that meth use destroys lives, tears families apart and leaves a dark and hallow stains in our neighborhoods. The manufacture of this terrible drug leaves behind toxic residue that contaminates homes nearly beyond repair. The cost of cleaning these homes so they can be inhabitable again can cost as much as $10,000. It can also attack the resale value of neighboring homes. Therefore the collateral damage of meth use is quite real for the law-abiding community.
Debate on how to combat this drug continues. Some feel that making one of the main ingredients in meth — pseudoephedrine — a prescription rather than an over-the-counter drug could make a dent in the problem. Others exclaim that such action would be unfair to the majority of the law-abiding public. We can see both points.
WE CAN ALSO SEE see that meth is such a danger to our communities that everything should be on the table when it comes to fighting it. This is a war that numbers tell us we’re losing in Indiana. We can’t continue this miserable slide. There’s too much at stake.