Meth may have declined among the gays, but it remains one of the red states' most serious problems. Many red states are beset with higher rates of social dysfunction than many blue ones - the price many rural Americans pay for the denial of Christianism - but they rarely get the attention that is focused on, say, urban African-Americans. But meth is the poor white rural drug; it defines, for example, the town of Wasilla where Palin was mayor. Funny how I haven't heard her mention this crippling problem in "real America." But that's part of the "keeping up appearances" Christianist message Palin projects onto everything she loves. A reader writes:
My daughter grew up in a bucolic, rural setting. However, drugs were everywhere in the community. Linda became involved in drugs when she was in junior high. Up to that point, she had been a straight-A student, a member of the cheerleading squad, and a player of team sports. She was lovely.
We battled drug and alcohol addiction with her for a long time. Many good people tried to help her. She eventually married at a very young age and lived in another small town. Then she found meth. Everything became unbelievably worse. She left her husband and young son and found herself in LA. Thanks to a pimp she was supplied with drugs ranging from heroin to crystal meth. She came back to me once more after some really horrible experiences. But then, she slipped away again.
Linda found her way to Spokane, Washington. My only contact was when she would occasionally call but give no indication of where she could be found. She ended up living on the street and being known as "barefoot Linda." Meth became her necessity.
There was a predator who had been killing prostitutes for some time in Spokane. The women knew he was out there but needed their meth more than their safety. Robert Lee Yates found Linda.
He killed her by shooting her in the back of the head. He then took what money she had as a token of his kill. However, he did leave her supply of meth. I can't bear to explain what he did to her after she died.
He was eventually arrested. He was found to be responsible for at least 13 women's deaths and probably more. The DNA evidence was irrefutable. He was eventually given a 400-year sentence with no parole in one venue and the death sentence in another. I asked for the life sentence. The death penalty is against my beliefs. That doesn't mean I forgive him. I probably could personally rip his heart out. But, I didn't want society taking his life in the sacred name of my daughter.
As far as the meth dealers, I wish I could confront each and every one as they are led away to life sentences. It is the most insidious of drugs. It is everywhere. With meth comes the total degradation of the user.
My hope, Andrew, is that as you speak out, people will become educated. It is not a recreational drug; it is death. There needs to be more funded treatment centers, more outreach to the communities that are most vulnerable. Please keep speaking out.
(Photo: the effects of crystal use on a woman who became and addict - and most become an addict as soon as they try one dose.)