by Conor Friedersdorf
A reader writes:
I've been a near-daily user of meth for roughly 14 of the past 15 years. That is, except for a few periods during which I *wasn't* using, totaling a little over a year, I've used meth 3 to 7 days of every week since May, 1996. (And I fear there have been far more 7-day than 3-day weeks; if I had to guess, I suspect I've averaged 4 to 5 days a week for most of those 15 years.)
I'm not particularly proud of this, frankly -- and it's now reached a point where my use is interfering with the other, meaningful parts of my life. Otherwise, I'm either the exception that proves the rule, exceptionally lucky, or in abject denial.
In the past 15 years, I've been a successful consultant and systems architect, served as CTO for a software company with $30 million in annual revenue, and owned and managed an old-school, brick-and-dead-trees firm in a decidedly non-technical area. In the past couple of years, alone, I've written grant proposals for a non-profit serving San Francisco's refugee population (immigrants, not Republicans), drafted business processes for a specialty defense contractor, designed a social networking site for people working in the financial services sector (bad timing, that), and engineered and installed a few medical marijuana grow rooms -- up to code, but under the table. I still have all my own teeth (well, except for one crown), and the vast majority of my friends and business associates would be absolutely dumbfounded if they knew. But those are simply my bona fides; they have nothing to do with why I'm writing.
I'm writing to say this: In the past 15 years, I haven't seen *any* significant change in availability of meth. The quality *has* improved slightly, though -- and, more importantly, the price in *absolute* dollars has declined. Bandwidth, pixels, and meth: Since '96, offering you significantly more bang for your buck.
Somehow, all this has come about *despite* my 87-year-old mother's being fingerprinted every time she buys Sudafed.
Oh, I'm sure the absurd barriers to decongestive relief accomplished more than simply shaving a couple points off CVS shares; for starters, it's probably now OK to use the Mr Coffee during your next stay at an Embassy Suites. But around here, at least, there's been a steady, consistent, dependable flow of industrial methamphetamine from South of the border. And that's not going to change, no matter how ridiculously painful or expensive it becomes to buy one of the few OTC remedies that actually works.