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Dear FRONTLINE,

I watched the program and it was very interesting, but every jail gets money for inmates staying there, why cant the money be used to have rehabilation centers for drug addicts, instead of the goverment paying for them to sit in jail, by the way with cable t.v, telephones, playing cards, and games to pass the time.

they need help to get off the drugs and learn to live a productive life. all they seem to get in jail is a bed, 3 meals, and game time.

my son is a addict and has been in and out of jail, he is now clean due to rehabilation help from a county jail,that took going in several times.

its hard for him and he finally sees what it has done to him and his family.but he will be the first to tell you that jail is more a college of education in crime, how to commit it that is. he also said the lady is wrong, you can make meth without ephedrine and pseudophedrine.

nortonville, kentucky

Dear FRONTLINE,

Where to start?

I'm a former San Francisco speedfreak, I snorted for 4 years and injected for 1. I'm 5'7" and at one point weighed 87lbs. Not so pretty. I quit 12 years ago. Little did I know until watching your show, that I was using during some of the peak quality years for the drug.

What to do? It seems very realistic that the supply could be cut way down by regulating or even eliminating psuedoephedrin in the U.S. I would urge anyone concerned about this to contact your representatives. Not so much supply = not so many addicts, that simple.

And when will the public/government realize that money is better spent treating drug addicts than it is jailing them?

That said, I was an addict, not a criminal. Many are both. I shoplifted candy bars probably about 20 times, but that's it. I'm sure the majority of speed addicts are not a menace to society and I knew quite a few. For the most part, they were extremely bright and creative individuals that got hooked on a crappy drug.

If you know anyone trying to stop or using now, be patient. It's a very, very difficult drug to quit. My use was heavy enough that I was thrown into a year long devistating depression. My brain was just done for a while. I educated myself about the after effects and knew what was happening in my head which helped a bit, but it was still very hard to get through. It takes a lot of time to rebuild your life after you tear it to the ground.

If you're using, you can stop. I didn't go to rehab, and I'm not a twelve stepper, although I did go to meetings for about three months in the beginning. The support I found there I saved me. Try it, you don't have to stay, just go. Find your own way like me if you need to, but be aware that not everyone can do that. I've seen people quit after more than a decade of use. It's never too late to find yourself, ever. You deserve to give yourself a chance, not some stupid chemical. That's all it is, a chemical. You're way more, and you can win even though it's a hard fight. Hang in there and outlast it.

Good Luck.

B. Slane

Dear FRONTLINE,

Frontline is usually at the forefront of well thought-out, balanced journalism, but the "Meth Epidemic" show was so overloaded with hysteria, I half expected to start hearing stories about meth-addicted parents microwaving babies, meth addicts staring at the sun until they go blind, and tweaking teenagers jumping off the roof thinking they could fly.

The show fails to cite the Federal Government's own National Survey on Drug Use and Health showing a decline in past month meth use from 2003 to 2004. Nor does it really back up claims about a growing epidemic without resorting to cliche, surveys of law enforcement and service providers needing greater funding in general, or worse, anecdotal evidence. Sure, living in Oregon, I have seen far more meth users than in past, but they are the same crew who would abuse heroin, booze, or crack if meth were no more. New decade, new drug, same crowd.

No doubt addiction is devastating to families and especially children, but the show failed to even once recognize that it is the addict that matters more than the method of abuse. People who abuse their family or enter into a life of crime and debauchery use their addiction as a crutch to avoid taking responsibility for behavior they know is wrong - "meth made me do it" - rather than seeing it as a consequence of their own life choices, mental illness, or the bad situations they find themselves in. This perpetuates the idea presented in the show that all we have to do is send people to jail a little longer or try a little harder to control supply and all will be well. Forgotten in the discussion was any rational thought on the effect of prohibition, lack of funding for effective treatment, or prevention of addiction in the first place.

David Crawford
Portland, Oregon

Dear FRONTLINE,

Another powerful episode on how meth is affecting communities around this country. In the programme we saw the Indiana representative saying that in the district he represent around 80% of the people in jail are meth related ones.

I studied at Indiana State University located in Terre Haute and there are some really small towns around this area which were thriving communities once and are really impoverished now due to factories being closed etc,. I believe that poverty and lack of oppurtunities are the basic reasons that contribute to drug addiction. If we take steps to eradicate joblessness and help people complete their education, we will see dramtic change in the situation.

Karthik Thirumalai
Liberty, NY

Dear FRONTLINE,

I missed your show on "Meth". I had many friends and family let me know about it, and what they thought about the presentation. I have been reading what I can online. I would like to make a suggestion: I think that there is a great need for you to show this same program every month, on a regular basis, like the second Tuesday of each month till, everyone in the whole country gets to see what is going on in this country. The repitition of this message would show how serious this problem is and inform many people that may be untouched by this epidemic.

I am sure that if ignored, the "Meth Epidemic" will end-up touching everyones life in one way or another. I lost my oldest son to suicide which was meth induced. He had been struggling for yrs., atleast since 1992 when he first was introduced to the drug. He had been in and out of trouble and jail, and tried numerous times to get his life back. He was just 34 yrs. when he died. The word really needs to get out to everyone, no matter where you live in this country, "meth" doesn't discriminate. It will creep up on you no matter what race, sex, financial position. I believe if our government wanted to cure this problem they could. This is a "National Epidemic" we need to quarentine the source of this problem, and help and heal the people that have already been afflicted by this epidemic, and clean-up America. We need to take care of the people in our own back yard, and then we can help our neighbors. Why do most people live in a fantasy world, they never think that Meth could affect them, well, so did I. I am now living in the real world, and the reality is my son is dead.

Boone, Colorado

FRONTLINE's editors respond:

FRONTLINE will nationally rebroadcast "The Meth Epidemic" on PBS on April 4th. The full program is also available here on this Web site to view in streamed video. Thousands have already watched it this way.

Dear FRONTLINE,

I've been stuck in this downward spiral for 4 years now. The first six months, I lost my marriage after endless nights of not coming home because I lost track of time. She thought I was cheating. At the end of that year, I had spent close to $8,000 on my habit. I kept upping my use since i was so depressed, and just wanted it to end with a bang. I OD'd in 2003. Stopped breathing, saw the light, whatever. The constant hunger for this drug is unlike any i've ever tried, and i've tried them all. I hate it, but the thought of Quitting makes me so sad. Sounds stupid, I know. The triggers are everywhere and randomly pull at you like you're being drawn and quartered. I've heard there's no physical dependence to it, but from my experience my body goes thruogh hell. I wish more people wouldn't come to judge so quickly. I am not a criminal, never stolen a thing. Most of my user friends go through the same thing as i do. We hate this drug so bad, but it's like the devil trying to pull your soul out. We see other people having these nice lives, and it hurts us inside that we had that once. It's hard to quit something more addictive than heroin, especially when you don't have the finances. Believe me, if I could afford it, I'd go to rehab for a couple years. That's how long it takes the drug to get out of you physically, by the way. It's not like you can detox for 28 days and be free. Plus, meth sticks with you psychologically for years if not the rest of your life. In Texas, all the drugs flow through from Mexico. I used to know some big dealers. It's not stopping anytime soon as far as I can tell. I just hope I live long enough to say that I beat it. One day at a time, one minute, one second, that's my life from now on. I have to live with that.

Danny K
San, TX

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you. Five years ago my husband and I were happy newlyweds who were buying a house. Three years later my husband was a raging meth addict. He tore apart our house, verbally abused me, threatened me, lied, disappeared for weeks on end, couldn't hold a job, on and on and on. I have survived his addiction. The last two years I have spent literally rebuilding what he destroyed in every way. Meth is evil. Meth stole my husband.

Mandy D
Cashmere, WA

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was stupified to learn I have been contributing to the meth problem by buying pfizer products for livestock and I own stock in the company. I do not want the blood of kid on my hands. I am selling my stock and giving the money to the Carlsbad anti drug/ crime colation. I will not buy pfizer products until pfizer cooperates with DEA.

Woods Houghton
Carlsbad, New Mexico

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am Police Officer in a small town (Pop. 3,500). Meth is here in a strong way. Most of the crime the deapertment is seeing is Meth related. We are started to see a high influx of the drug versus one year ago. The quality of the Meth is also higher than it was one year ago. From what we are seeing the Meth is being shipped in versus the being cooked locally.The state has been slow to help resolve this problem.

Cloverdale, Indiana

Dear FRONTLINE,

As a former meth addict I found the show very interesting and I am glad I am a part of the 22 percent as I have been clean for over 9 years it always haunts me what I have seen as a meth user.

We need money and resources spent on investigations on every detail of its production and cut the head off the snake. It sucks to be a meth user but i guess i got lucky and got off when the impurities fell in the mid 90s and saw the light. I saw the horror and grief it caused and can never associate with meth users old friends with rotten teeth and sunken faves I give a hello and then i give a lecture about meth use.

portland, or

Dear FRONTLINE,

Just over a year ago, my purse was stolen by a woman who watched me in a park (in a poor part of town) as I played with my children. I had set the purse down on a bench under a jacket, and ran after my small son for a few minutes. I looked up to see her walking away with it. I chased her down, but she managed to throw it under a parked car before I reached her, and went back later and got it. I still remember the pock marks on her face. Due to a misunderstanding from a bank employee, my VISA debit card was not cancelled when I immediately went to the bank (only my credit card was).

By the time I caught this error 12 hours later, I was able to find that the burglar bought a lot of gas, large quantities of fast-food, and then visited three drug stores around town.

It was helpful for me to see the bit about "smurfing," of obtaining 2-3 boxes of Sudafed at a time in different drug stores. That is no doubt what happened in my case. Trying to get the drug stores to communicate with each other and catch this similar-looking woman using my ID was very difficult. I would agree with writers who say that this is so often an addiction of the poor. And desperate.

On a positive note, we have a young single mother living with us now who was a meth addict. She had lost jobs, weight, and burned bridges with family. The minute she found out she was pregnant, the desire to "make it" for that baby was stronger than any meth urge and she walked away from it all. She credits much of this to God's ability to rescue her, and a gutsy aunt He worked through that went into the drug house where she was staying and physically helped remove her from that whole scene. Kudos to your show for a job well done, and to the unique mother-and-child rehab center in Southern Oregon that you featured. Children are our heritage.

Mother of two,Portland, OR

Portland, OR

Dear FRONTLINE,

My 8 yr. old lost her father to meth. The family had no idea. It took his life so fast. In 60 days he had hocked everything, when the cash and drug was gone he hung himself high as a kite. They just treated it as suicide. How many of the crimes, illnesses, arrests, child abuse, domestic violence are really related to Meth. I think a lot more than we really know. These addicts have no fear.WE NEED TO PROTECT OURSELVES AND NEED BETTER METH WATCH. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE METH ADDICTS ON LINE LIKE THE CHILD MOLESTERS. THEY ARE MUCH MORE OF A DANGER TO ALL OF US.

Vancouver, Washington

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was able to watch the program online. Good information and thank you.

Having worked both in the prison/jail system and privately as a therapist , I can attest that this epidemic is even across the board economically, socially, and culturally. And being an ex-wife of a meth user,I can attest to the reality that a very hard hit comes to the families of meth users.

Unless one experiences it, you could never imagine the strangeness and insanity of being around someone who is either tweaked or coming down from meth...the extreme paranoia, the extreme heightened sexual drive (no love involved here!!), watching someone stay up all night being sentry at the window with a knife, the threats to personal safety because of delusions, the money stolen, the hospital visits, the valuables sold, the deep depression that follows, the physical changes....dreams destroyed.....again, and again and again. People are ignorant to think that meth is not a vampire in every sense...seductive and unwilling to give up its host meal, even after the first hit.

Jo Chavez
Alb., NM

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for bringing this very important show to air. It has been ignored for too long. At this very moment, my husband who I am having to divorce, is in a physical rehabilitation facility. He is waiting for his second back surgery. In less than two years, Meth destroyed him, our marriage, and financially drained all our money.

I was not aware he was using at first when he was working as an assistant manager for a very large department store chain, but noticed changes in his behavior. He decided to open a "smoke" shop, where the biggest sellers are "oil burners", the glass pipes used by Meht addicts. Physically he began to change, and eventually ended up having affairs and all the people he associated with were all meth users. I avoided the store and he only would come home from time to time. I began to discover what the problem was.

He began injecting Meth. Because of this, he became infected with an impossible to cure form of Staph. I also became infected since he was still sometimes coming home. But because he would not go to a doctor because of his speed addiction. He hurt his back by fall, so he thought. I had told him it was over between us.

On 11/3/05, his birthday, he drove our car into a tree and someone broke into his store and sold everything. I was called to the hospital where he refused treatment. He was 48, but looked like he was 68. He could hardly walk. I attempted to help him, but he ended up losing control of his bladder. He finally stopped using speed, and went to a hospital, but they just told him he had a strained back. His behavior became more irratic, we were unable to tell if it was withdrawal from speed. I had to make him leave for the third time because I could not handle his behavior.

Finally on Thanksgiving, I went to his store. The floor was covered with his urine. It was a mess everywhere. He was laying face down on a couch, knees on the floor, for several hours. He could not move, he was only wearing a shirt wrapped around his waist. I called 911 and he was taken to a county hospital.

Luckily the emergency doctors asked me if he had injected drugs because he was running a high fever. I told him that he had. My ex-husband has been on antibiotics since Thanksgiving 2005. The infection went into his spinal column and destroyed his vertebrae. He is unable to walk, and not allowed to move because he may destroy what physically abilities he still has. There was a concern he had abcesses in his brain because for a number of weeks he was irratic and verbally abusive. Because of the medical care he received, this passed. He was down to 104 pounds.

What I want to know is what lawyer for pro bono is willing to take on the pharmacetical companies and sue them since they are the ones responsible for the horrible situation everyday Americans are having to deal with? This is not a backwoods problem, there are doctors, cops, professional people who are using meth right now. People with lots of money. As long as this continues to grow, the physical costs will be out of hand.

It's funny, because in writing this, I realize that the pharmecetical companies are still making money off of my Ex-husband's Meth addiction, now because of the illness he has from his addiction. These companies have destroyed his life, and mine and I have never used Meth. I always told people that the pharmecetical companies were the ones making money off of speed, thank you for making this information public. I just wonder how bad this is going to have to get before anything is actually done to stop the Meth trade.

Julie H
Long Beach, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

im a college student and the meth epidemic or problem is definetly amongst us. i used to be a meth user or was using it for quite a while, but the problem is still present.

its not that i go out looking to get high, but its just that old "friends" are still around doing the same thing, things are changing and people i had known for quite a while are still into it and it is completely normal.

the program was definetly something we need to see and understand.

david sanchez
laguna hills, california

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posted feb. 14, 2006

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