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Dear FRONTLINE,

Do any of you Oregonians wish to explain why methamphetamine is on a LOWER federal schedule (Schedule II) than marijuana? Last time I checked, marijuana didn't destroy dopamine receptors, erode teeth and gums, or increase risk of HIV infection via intravenous administration.

There's the rub: medical methamphetamine has federally recognized therapeutic benefits, while marijuana does not. Federal law disinguishes between USE and ABUSE of methamphetamine. Marijuana, with very few exceptions, does not enjoy such distinction.

Michael Miller
Seattle, WA

Dear FRONTLINE,

The idea that this drug only affects the poor or uneducated is ridiculous. Better schools or more jobs doesn't matter. The people that I've know to be addicted to this drug had, before they lost it all, great jobs, great families and college degrees. This drug literally turned hard working, funny, caring and handsome people in walking zombies.

The human brain wasn't designed to deal with this sort of chemical. Maybe some people are able to "will" themselves better or maybe they were not using meth as pure as they thought. There are a lot of variables to drug addiction.

I'm not fan of big pharma but Pfizer is producing a cold medicine now that is sudoephedrine free. Its a start. But they need more pressure.

9/11 happens and our nation was spured into action because of 3000 deaths. How many people have been killed, mamed or had their futures ruined because of this drug? Where is the national response.

We as concerned citzens need to do some lobbying ourselves. There is a power in large numbers, both dollars and people. Call or email your representatives, get them moving, keep up the pressure. I know this program has gotten me off the couch. How about you too?

R Clark
Portland, Oregon

Dear FRONTLINE,

This program was a bull's eye.I can speak from personal experience what meth can do to a person.I watched meth turn a loving wife and mother into something I longer recognized.I tried to get her help but she refused to admit she had a problem.

Meth is a major problem in this area and I see no end in sight.What is so bad is the fact that so many don't know about the "elephant" that is meth or just refuse to see it.I won't say what the answer to this problem is,we can't build enough prisons to hold them all and there aren't any treatment centers in this area.

But I will tell you that legalization is not the answer and anyone who says different needs to put down their pipe or straw and try to rejoin the real world.

Dean S
Marianna, Ar

Dear FRONTLINE,

People can only turn their heads for so long. This is an epidemic that should have no tolerance!!! Laws need to change & become much more stringent for meth users, makers, & sellers. Meth has proved it's destructive capabilities and it's legal consequences need to reflect that. Parents who use meth should not have the "right" or be given the opportunity to destroy their children's brains, emotional well-being, and ultimately their lives! Meth users, dealers, and maker should have no ability to re-offend. They are destroying & ending lives. Sentencing should reflect that.

I challange law makers and the president of the USA to watch this program and visit foster homes & neonatal intensive care units, so they can watch an innocent new life suffer through the toxic effects of Meth. Maybe then the war on drugs will become as important as other battles.

Signed-Foster Parent & Substance Abuse Professional

Sal Foster Parent
Walla Walla, Wa

Dear FRONTLINE,

Try something else! Legalization and treatment need to be tried. Every penny that is spent on the drug war is sucked directly out of the taxpayers pocket with nothing to show for it. At least with treatment we can probably turn most of the patients back into taxpayers and recover the cost of their treatment instead of sending them to jail so that we can spend $30,000.00 each per year to keep them locked up. With the government regulating and taxing drugs we may just find that treatment costs us nothing, the people using drugs and recovering drug users may end up paying it all. We have over 2 million Americans in prison now and a good number of them (about half I think) are there for non-violent drug crimes.

Does it strike anyone else as strange that Congress takes it's drug advice from the very people that have a vested interest in keeping the drug war going? The DEA, the pharmaceutical industry, the mental health industry (lots of court ordered referrals), and the drug testing industry. As a matter of fact when you examine the funding of the "more drug law" drug groups you'll find that most of it comes from some or all of the above named entities. Should that fact alone not be telling us something?

It's time for a change folks, this expensive drug war costs way to much in both money and lives.

David Daniels
Newport, NC

Dear FRONTLINE,

Meth has destroyed my family. I am twenty-one years old now, and not even six years ago my mother started sneaking out of the house claiming to go to Bingo and hang with her friends. My dad was un-aware of the situation until one night I caught her snorting. Through time she got worse and I had months to prove to my dad that I wasen't lieing. Once he found out they divorced, and she left me and my 14 year old brother. She ended up hooking up with a new boyfriend who cooked Meth. Two years later she was busted. Two years after that she ended up in prison.

Now my mother is out and clean she claims and my father was going to give her a second chance, and she came home for the first time from prison, and only stayed two days and took off again back to her ex husband and her other four children she abandoned when she was only 22 years old. My mother is 52 now, and I haven't been close or been able to call my family of four in a long time. It ruined my father, he ended up having a heart attack, survirved, and now my brother is 20 and has epileptic siezures. My family is forever ruined, and I'v moved out on my own trying to escape the fear of knowing my mother will never be the same.

St.Louis, MO

Dear FRONTLINE,

Just letting someone know that in the town of, Evart, Michigan there is such a rampant amount of meth abuse going on that the cops have literally given up. There is no control there what-so-ever. The problem is so big that you can literally walk into any gas station or supermarket and ask any worker there what the meth condition is in that town and they will tell you EXACTLY what I just wrote. The National Guard needs to get in there and clean that place up! It's horrible!

Unemployment is very high there. People have a lot of time on their hands. Just look up a phone number for any gas station or supermarket in Evart, Michigan and ask the person who answers the phone what the meth situation in that town is like. Ask them why they think the police have stopped trying to break up the meth labs, or if they think the police are doing enough. There just isn't enough funding for police to keep up with it! Not there, anyway. Just thought you would like to know.

Carl VanHyden
spring Lake, Michigan

Dear FRONTLINE,

When I was in the fourth grade there was a meth bust right across the street from my school's playground. Having been around meth addicts most my life I never understood the drug or how people became so addicted. Your program did a wonderful job of explaining the addiction, and the process that the dealers have used through the years. I hope that it will also help open peoples eyes to this problem.

Moses Lake, Washington

Dear FRONTLINE,

An excellent show. Many other letters are heart-rending. Here in Hawaii, in 5 years I have lost property to theft 8 or 9 times, so many I forget. It is all due to ice. 85% in Oregon.

Why can't legalization be tried? Look at harm reduction, not retribution. The resources saved could all go to TREATMENT, and my stuff will stop disappearing. Have any of the politicians grandstanding on "tough on crime" soapboxes ever considered that outlawing drug use changes nothing for the user except his cost, and makes his problem EVERYONE'S problem?

Bob Wahler
Pepeekeo, HI

Dear FRONTLINE,

I watched the show on the meth epidemic . i am in recovery from meth i started using the drug 8/98 i was addicted immediately . i left my children and their father overnight to pursue the meth lifestyle. it destroyed my life. I got involved in criminal behaviors and did things for the drug that haunt me.

however, I am here to say that hope is real. I believe the drug court of columbia county, in St. Helens , Oregon helped save my life by mandated treatment. it took many inpatient treatments (4) . but finally i i got it. Depaul treatment center. in portland is awesome! keep up the great work you do . thanks for your educational series. and to the oregonian. and to my former probation officer jim stewart!!!

Sarah lee-diess
gladstone, oregon

Dear FRONTLINE,

I have seen people I have know go though the whole durg addition and meth adition and they look like they are dead -- why would you want to do that to your body

warren , ohio

Dear FRONTLINE,

I regrettably missed the program but I am planning to order it. My family has been ravaged by this epidemic and yes, it is an epidemic. I have seen families lose everything. I would like to see more about the children. What about the children who are taken away from their parents? My granddaughter seems to have attachment disorder...possibly from the time of the arrest when she was 2 1/2 months old and was first taken away from her parents.

I want more information on long term rehabilitation and parenting skills. Real skills, not the little class you get in jail. These children are facing problems that will affect them for their entire lives. This is a horrible, devistating way of life for the addict, their families, and especially the children.

I hope that every person who watches this program will write to their congressperson and let them know that yes, this is really serious.

Gina Lafarlett
jonesboro, Arkansas

Dear FRONTLINE,

Annalee Long wrote:

> Our jail, on any given day has a higher rate of offender[sic]> incarcerated for drug charges, often involving> Methamphetamines than any other charge.

But what great job security it must be to have a jail full of depressed, addictive people. If you were only locking up 'real' criminals, i.e. rapists, murders, burgulars, etc., there would only be a very low number of inmates, meaning the county may have to lay off some police officers, deputies, correction officers, public defenders, judges, court reporters and prosecutors. Maybe if the focus was on real crime and not on people with addictive personalities, there would be enough money left over to get these people some real rehabilitation. All criminals are not drug addicts, and all drug addicts are not criminals.

Mike Kimball
Atlanta, GA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Once again Frontline has hit a home run with the Meth Epidemic. I was never one to experiment with drugs and have had a hard time understanding why someone would want to risk their life and the lives of others using drugs such as meth.

I have had a large number of gay friends and acquaintances who got hooked on meth, even after trying it once and the stories they told me made my blood run cold. It has also contributed to the spread of HIV in the gay community.

Thank you PBS for another hard hitting and thought provoking program on a subject a lot of media don't want to touch. Keep up the great work

Art Martin
Cambridge, Mass

Dear FRONTLINE,

,

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posted feb. 14, 2006

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