Meth is destroying communities

  1. I am originally from a small town in southern West Virginia. I have lived away from the area for about 8 years now, but I continue to go back 3-4 times a year to visit family and friends. I have noticed over the last several years that the town I grew up in (and many small towns just like it) is being devastated by the growing methamphetamine problem. Streets that I used to ride bikes on as a kid are no longer safe, the crime rate has skyrocketed (vandalism, theft, assault, arson, you name it), a growing number of people are on welfare and are jobless because they spend all of their money doing drugs. The conditions of these towns are terrible....run-down builidings, condemned buildings (from houses that were used as meth labs), people not taking care of themselves and their properties. It makes me want to cry just thinking about how nice my little town used to be and now it's completely overrun by drugs. My mother told me that she could guarantee that if a car drives down our street past 10:00pm, 9 out of 10 times it will be a drug-run. My next door neighbors have taken in a baby of one of their relatives because the parents were so strung out on meth that they left her laying in a crib and her skull was sunken in. My first cousin has had two people found dead in her trailer within the last year and she recently came into some money (about $60,000, but that is a long story) and it's ALL gone within 4 months....all spent on drugs! Stories like this are all I hear now about the area that I grew up in. Is anyone else facing issues like this? What can be done to change this worsening epidemic? Any thougtful input would be appreciated!
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    About WVUturtle514

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 209; Likes: 41
    CRNA
    Specialty: Anesthesia

    110 Comments

  3. by   babynurselsa
    Your story can be pretty much applied to any town in our country. A couple of years ago there was an infant in our community that literally roasted ona floor grate furnace about 4 feet from its dna donor who had crashed on the couch after a binge. Another case I can think of was a 3 year old who got thirsty and sipped lye from a jar thinking it was water. (lab in the house). she and the other children on the house actually had burns on their feet from walking on the floor barefoot with all of those chemicals permeated into the house. I could go on an on.
  4. by   Epona
    This leads me another subject... how do nurses deal with patients who are sick drug addicts coming into offices and hospitals? I will eventaully be a nurse, but in my heart would have a hard time facing a patient who does not care about themselves and is destroying themselves. What if they have AIDS or Hep. C and in taking care of them I pick up something from them?? As nurses, it's our duty to help, but hard when they are knowing killing themselves and thus putting us in jeopardy. As a nurse, this would be a challenge for me.

    E
  5. by   traumaRUs
    Epona - knowing this is a challenge might help you to better deal with these patients. People don't usually want to be drug addicts, have HIV or hepatitis. We are not the judge and jury of these folks.

    BTW - did you know it is much easier to get hep B than HIV from a needlestick? Pays to get your full set of hep B vaccines.
  6. by   KnarfKS
    I speak from experience, my brother and one cousin are meth addicts. I'm in kansas near kansas city, it is crazy the number of people in small farming communities in western kansas that are addicted to meth. It isn't the teenagers either, it is the 40-60 yr old farmers and middle class, it doesn't make any sense to me at all.
    I work at the biggest hospital in the state, we constantly get addicts. I was driving down the street near the hospital one day and had to get a passed out meth addict off the sidewalk in 100 degree heat. He wasn't too happy when the cops showed up, but at least he was alive.
  7. by   traumaRUs
    I see it too in my area.
  8. by   nursecher
    I to think that this is a growing problem all over the country. I think that it is a powerful drug and it grabs people. It is sad to see. The war against drugs continues and who knows if it will ever be over. Scary.........esp when you have kids.
  9. by   Epona
    Thank you Trauma for making me privy to the Hep. deal. I will get all the shots. Thank you for making me aware!!

    E
  10. by   mellomom
    Same problems here in rural Washington state - I work at a public hospital, where all the addicts go when 1) they can't score any more drugs and realize they are sick and/or 2) they try to kill themselves/OD and/or 3) they come in with amazing wounds and infections and we get to detox them. Then we release them, and they come back... sick and addicted. Of course we never get reimbursed b/c these people aren't even functional enough to get Medicaid. AND they bring in their homeless friends/dealers/fellow addicts to eat and sleep while they are in the hospital.

    I agree you can't be judgemental and let your frustration affect your care, but...sometimes I wish just one of them cleaned up after their brushes with death. Usually they just leave AMA when they are ambulatory, so they can go out...and use. The strain on their loved ones and families is tremendous and heartbreaking.

    guess what? I had one of these patients today...
  11. by   SimonJester
    And to think we are considering legalizing more of our currently illegal drugs...
    How many people now addicted to meth started out with a lesser drug.. Be it alcohol, pot …

    I know people who have gone from having a nice house, well paying job kids in school to rock bottom homeless and their kids taken away in a matter of months.

  12. by   WVUturtle514
    I guess I'm just one of those people who doesn't understand addictions very well. From everything I've heard, a lot of people can get addicted to meth after one use. I just don't understand how that's possible. Especially when they can look around and see the destruction it is causing other friends and families. Is it just that good of a high?
  13. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from WVUturtle514
    I guess I'm just one of those people who doesn't understand addictions very well. From everything I've heard, a lot of people can get addicted to meth after one use. I just don't understand how that's possible. Especially when they can look around and see the destruction it is causing other friends and families. Is it just that good of a high?
    I need to understand better myself. I don't understand. I have a cousin who had a loving wife and three little girls. He had a good career, and a lovely home. After starting meth he lost everything. He lost his family, career, and home. Last I heard he was in some hospital with burns because he blew up his meth lab. I don't understand it. I do understand that there is something different about meth v. other drugs.
  14. by   WVUturtle514
    Really informative site showing meth lab incidences by state....I'm shocked at the number of meth labs in Missouri.

    http://www.dea.gov/concern/map_lab_seizures.html

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