Meth is more than a law enforcement problem
As our stories Saturday and Sunday pointed out, methamphetamine continues to be a scourge on our community and the problem is way beyond just a law enforcement issue.
Law enforcement, the courts and others are doing what they can, but citizens need to resist the temptation of that drug because once you use it, you are its captive.
Methamphetamine, commonly called meth, first showed up in the late 1980s and in a big way in the 1990s when clandestine labs would pop up over night. The number of those illegal labs led many a county sheriff, including Tulare County’s, to declare their county was the meth capital of the world. Now that the labs have moved south of the border, that claim is no longer made, but meth remains a huge problem that is tearing at the very fabric of life for thousands of citizens.
Officials, including former addicts, told us that meth is almost instantaneously addictive. Three or fewer doses can make one captive for life, or until they get help and can break away. It destroys people, taking their jobs, their families and their dignity in a matter of a few months. Once productive citizens, can soon become street people.
Law enforcement says meth is the “root” of many property crimes. In order to maintain a $25 to $50 a day habit, with no ability to hold a job, meth addicts have to turn to crime in order to feed their habits. Those crimes are often against family members, but they are also crimes of convenience, such as a car break-in, petty theft, identity theft and burglary.
The problem is far too widespread to just be a police problem. If we know of someone who is on meth, we need to help them. There are those who will help, but we learned that it takes a lot of hard work by the individual, and a strong support group, to get off of meth.
Meth is everyone’s problem, and we need to understand that police alone are not the answer. We as a society need to do our part as well.