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THURSDAY, JUNE 16, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Keep after those people who operate meth labs

A reasonable person might think that, after the Morgan County Sheriff's Department raided a rural mobile home park south of Priceville, any methamphetamine-making there might stop.

It obviously didn't.

Sheriff's deputies raided the park on Tall Pine Road for the fourth time in less than six months this week and said they found a meth lab as they had previously on three occasions.

Thus far in 2005, the department seized 25 labs, which is a little off the pace set last year when District Attorney Bob Burrell said meth arrests exploded over the previous 18 months.

The Tall Pine mobile home location has produced about a dozen arrests, an indication of how aggressively involved those living there might have been in the illegal drug manufacture and, possibly, trafficking.

But why?

Profit is always a logical motive. But the chemical properties of meth may be such that some people are willing to risk going to jail as they make the stuff.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says many users who inject or smoke meth become quickly addicted to the intense and pleasurable sensation. But the rush lasts only a few minutes, which accounts for the cycle of frequent use.

Sniffing and swallowing meth, however, produce a prolonged high, but not a rush.

All usage is at a health cost. The government says even small amounts cause a variety of problems to the central nervous system. It also produces paranoia, anxiety and aggressiveness.

There may be good news in national statistics that show reporting of meth labs is declining. But that might be because the makers are becoming more sophisticated.

On the positive side, restricting access to the ingredients that go into meth may be affecting those statistics.

But meth is still out there and claiming more addicts every day. Monitoring the Future, an arm of the federal drug abuse institute, says that last year 6.2 percent of high school seniors reported substantial use of meth. The good news was that the percentage didn't increase from 2003.

Let's keep up the pressure on those who make and distribute the stuff.

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