Tuesday 19 June 2007

Iced: Crystal Meth: The Biography of North America's Deadliest New Plague by Jerry Langton

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPublished by Key Porter Books

Iced is one of those books which disturbs and yet you won't want to put it down. Meth is a drug that is mentioned increasingly in the media these days. Some reports show that the production and use of meth is a fast growing problem which needs to be dealt with, while others report with equal certainty that there is no need for alarm. The often conflicting articles bring little more than confusion and misinformation.

Jerry Langton brings light to the subject in a very clear and concise way. It's obvious he has done his research, on both the more recent events, and the history of this destructive substance. In addition he interviews numerous experts among which are Users, Sellers, Cooks, Doctors, Politicians, Police and also families of the users.

The content of this book is often disturbing and certainly raised more than a few raw emotions in me. Much of it anger. When we hear about drugs, we often focus on the effects they have on the users and maybe even on family members. Crimes rates are often another point of consideration. Iced gives us much more food for thought when it comes to meth.

The dangers of explosions in meth labs for instance, often leaving the cook with very serious burns which can require treatment costing hundreds of thousands of dollars which when the cook has little or no health insurance, leaves the hospitals or burn centers to absorb the financial loss. This can lead to the closure of such burn centers, making it difficult for the rest of the communities to find appropriate care. The same meth labs create 6lbs of toxic waste for each pound of meth created, which is far from good on the environment or people living in the area. I was less than thrilled when I read about these things.

What greatly bothered me though, is the information on what effects meth has on a person. I had known nothing about this drug but on reading, and learning that it is more dangerous than cocaine and heroine and more widely used also, I do know that people need to become more educated about it. This is a drug that causes major and permanent damage to the user. The author defines it as:

It's almost unbelievable how meth affects the brain. It's a drug that forces our
brains to reward us with otherwise unattainable pleasure. Then it denies us
pleasure from any other source. As if that wasn't bad enough, it also makes us
forget that our actions have consequences and it constantly reminds us of how
great it is. Then it damages our brain to the point where nothing, not even more
meth, can ever make us feel good again. Meth is one of those strange things that
if it showed up in fiction, it'd be dismissed as too perfect to be real.

There is so much that could, and should be done about this. There are voices out there who are trying to be heard. Voices such as Richard Rawson of the not-for-profit Matrix Institute for Addictions which has success in helping patients overcome methamphetamine dependance. Voices such as Dr Mary Holley - founder of Mothers Against Meth. Projects such as IMPACT who use Bait Cars to catch car theives, many of which are meth addicts. To bring this project to the public eye, there is a website featuring some of the video footage taken from the cars. I am sure there are countless more voices too, all we need do is listen.

If you think this subject doesn't concern you. Think about a couple, newly married, who are mentioned in this book. They had saved for their dream home and were concerned when neighbours mentioned that the previous owner had many late night visitors. The home was tested and was found to have toxic levels 70 percent higher than were safe. A result of being a meth lab in earlier times. They had to move out after only a few months there, a few months which though brief, still led to many health problems.

I found this book to be a greatly informative, and eye-opening read.

Bait Car website: http://www.baitcar.com/

Matrix Institute for Addictions website: http://www.matrixinstitute.org/

Mothers Against Meth website: http://www.mamasite.net/


Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

Good words.