Meth Addiction Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Meth Addiction. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Every time I draw a clean breath, I'm like a fish out of water.
Narcotics Anonymous (Narcotics Anonymous)
You know how people are always saying your parents are always right? "Follow your parents' advice; they know what's good for you." And you know how no one ever listens to this advice, because even if it's true it's so annoying and condescending that it just make you want to go, like, develop a meth addiction and have unprotected sex with eighty seven thousand anonymous partners?
John Green (Will Grayson, Will Grayson)
It was the hardest boyfriend I ever had to break up with [referring to crystal methamphetamines]
I wanted to meet the monster. Why go down if you can go up?
Ellen Hopkins (Crank (Crank, #1))
Sophie and I would use her Christmas break to make homemade treats from our very own kitchen. I mean, if thousands of meth addicts can do it, why can't we?
Celia Rivenbark (You Can't Drink All Day If You Don't Start in the Morning)
I’ve heard 14 year old meth addicted thai prostitutes say more prescient things than the woman that was supposedly a “professor
Tucker Max (I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (Tucker Max, #1))
I think it's better to be comfortable in your skin than to be miserable being who you are. Sure, the meth is horrible. It ruins people from the inside out. It's a waiting game --- it's not a matter of if it destroys you, but rather a matter of when it will. I've made it this far. I'm not sending a message that it's "cool" to be on drugs and tell everyone about it. I don't sum myself up as a drug addict and a hooker. That's not what I am. Those are juts things I do, they don't define me. Jobs and addictions do not make us who we are.
Ashly Lorenzana
I can pretty much guarantee that you will at some point find yourself doing something that at one point you swore you'd never do. You'll do it for the sake of getting high, either directly or indirectly. Trust me. It will happen. You might think you know yourself better than anyone, but you have yet to become acquainted with your addiction. It will introduce itself in ways that you never thought were possible.
Ashly Lorenzana
Imagine this: Ice is coming to YOUR house. Can you HEAR it knocking? Are you ready? What will YOU do?
Cornelia Connie D. DeDona
I was still trying to get my adrenaline levels down to an acceptable level. If a cop gave me a sobriety test right now, I would look like a meth addict in the midst of a giant tweaking.
Mark Tufo (Tattered Remnants (Zombie Fallout, #9))
The decision-making part of the brain of an individual who has been using crystal meth is very interesting. When Carly and Andy were in their apartment, they ran out of drugs. They sold every single thing they had except two things: a couch and a blow torch. They had to make a decision because something had to be sold to buy more drugs. A normal person would automatically think, Sell the blow torch. But Andy and Carly sat on the couch, looking at the couch and looking at the blow torch, and the choice brought intense confusion. The couch? The blow torch? I mean, we may not need the blow torch today, but what about tomorrow? If we sell the couch, we can still sit wherever we want. But the blow torch? A blow torch is a very specific item. If you’re doing a project and you need a blow torch, you can’t substitute something else for it. You would have to have a blow torch, right? In the end, they sold the couch.
Dina Kucera (Everything I Never Wanted to Be: A Memoir of Alcoholism and Addiction, Faith and Family, Hope and Humor)
Don't kid yourself by saying that one time can't make you addicted. It can. I believed it couldn't too when I first tried meth. I was so, so wrong. The worst part about it is that you won't realize what has happened immediately afterwards. Addiction is a gradual process and it doesn't happen overnight. But trust me when I tell you that one time is all that it takes to set this into motion. It can and it will.
Ashly Lorenzana
He was on a wildly successful TV show on Disney for two years (playing a singing possum), before hitting the big screen, playing everything from Captain Marvel, to a schizophrenic, to Alexander the Great, to a college kid with a crystal meth addiction. I don't know if he's a great actor, but he's great looking, so who cares.
Sloane Tanen (Are You Going to Kiss Me Now?)
I was fucked and I knew it. I had stupidly wandered into some epic rape palace run by meth-addicted hobos and bald men with beards who recently escaped nearby jails and had taken over this place for their torture sessions with hapless young women they found exploring the coast. Even worse, I was going to be the hapless woman who decided to infiltrate their headquarters.
Karina Halle (Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror, #1))
I tried everything I could to prevent my son’s fall into meth addiction. It would have been no easier to have seen him strung out on heroin or cocaine, but as every parent of a meth addict comes to learn, this drug has a unique, horrific quality. In an interview, Stephan Jenkins, the singer in Third Eye Blind, said that meth makes you feel “bright and shiny.” It also makes you paranoid, delusional, destructive, and self-destructive. Then you will do unconscionable things in order to feel bright and shiny again.
David Sheff (Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction)
These days. Most of us have the attention span of a meth-addicted squirrel.
Kristen Lamb (Rise of the Machines--Human Authors in a Digital World)
So, you got shit-faced, spray-painted a barn with a lovely shade of Exorcist-green puke, fucked a donkey while you were there, and started a fist fight with a recovering, meth-addicted nun and her lovechild who were reenacting the nativity scene?
Kendall Grey (Nocturnes (Hard Rock Harlots, #3))
Because all little girls deserve to be protected. Even the daughters of douche bags.
Kimberly Wollenburg (Crystal Clean: A mother's struggle with meth addiction and recovery)
Nic ha fatto uso di droghe, a fasi alterne, per oltre un decennio, e in quegli anni credo di avere sentito, pensato e fatto quasi tutto quello che un genitore può sentire, pensare e fare.
David Sheff (Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction)
Mass shootings are all part of a vast Left-wing conspiracy to undermine the 2nd Amendment and deprive your 6-year-old of his God-given right to bring a Bushmaster to class for "show and tell" ... The one he got from his psychotic, meth-addicted uncle's trailer while the latter was out getting the Confederate flag tattooed on his face. Remember, guns don't kill: the dimwits who insist EVERYONE should have the right to own 'em do.
Quentin R. Bufogle
My main concern was my teeth because they were in constant pain. Meth depletes the body of calcium, the vitamin essential to maintaining healthy teeth. It also includes acidic ingredients that can damage teeth. The ingredients include but are not limited to battery acid: Drano, over-the-counter cold medications like Sudafed, antifreeze, engine starter fluid, and brake fluid. Basically, pop the hood of your car and you can find the ingredients you need to cook meth. I’m no dentist, but I came to the conclusion that was the root of my tooth pain.
S.C. Sterling (Teenage Degenerate)
The room has Nic’s smell—not the sweet childhood smell he once had, but a cloying odor of incense and marijuana, cigarettes and aftershave, possibly a trace of ammonia or formaldehyde, the residual odor of burning meth. Smells like teen spirit.
David Sheff (Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction)
I’m going to a party tonight,” I said, partly just to say it out loud and partly to brag. Conrad raised his eyebrows. “You?” “Whose party?” Jeremiah demanded. “Kinsey’s?” I put down my juice. “How’d you know?” Jeremiah laughed and wagged his finger at me. “I know everybody in Cousins, Belly. I’m a lifeguard. That’s like being the mayor. Greg Kinsey works at that surf shop over by the mall.” Frowning, Conrad said, “Doesn’t Greg Kinsey sell crystal meth out of his trunk?” “What? No. Cam wouldn’t be friends with someone like that,” I said defensively. “Who’s Cam?” Jeremiah asked me. “That guy I met at Clay’s bonfire. He asked me to go to this party with him, and I said yes.” “Sorry. You aren’t going to some meth addict’s party,” Conrad said. This was the second time Conrad was trying to tell me what to do, and I was sick of it. Who did he think he was? I had to go to this party. I didn’t care if there was crystal meth or not, I was going. “I’m telling you, Cam wouldn’t be friends with someone like that! He’s straight edge.” Conrad and Jeremiah both snorted. In moments like these, they were a team. “He’s straight edge?” Jeremiah said, trying not to smile. “Neat.” “Very cool,” agreed Conrad. I glared at the both of them. First they didn’t want me hanging out with meth addicts, and then being straight edge wasn’t cool either. “He doesn’t do drugs, all right? Which is why I highly doubt he’d be friends with a drug dealer.” Jeremiah scratched his cheek and said, “You know what, it might be Greg Rosenberg who’s the meth dealer. Greg Kinsey’s pretty cool. He has a pool table. I think I’ll check this party out too.” “Wait, what?” I was starting to panic. “I think I’ll go too,” Conrad said. “I like pool.” I stood up. “You guys can’t come. You weren’t invited.” Conrad leaned back in his chair and put his arms behind his head. “Don’t worry, Belly. We won’t bother you on your big date.” “Unless he puts his hands on you.” Jeremiah ground his fist into his hand threateningly, his blue eyes narrow. “Then his ass is grass.” “This isn’t happening,” I moaned. “You guys, I’m begging you. Don’t come. Please, please don’t come.” Jeremiah ignored me. “Con, what are you gonna wear?” “I haven’t thought about it. Maybe my khaki shorts? What are you gonna wear?” “I hate you guys,” I said.
Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1))
I see a dude who looks like a meth addict across the street; I'm going to assume that's what this fiancée thief looked like, right? I mean, obviously, the only reason she would have left you for anyone else is if she suddenly lost her mind and got struck blind on top of it. Pretty action-packed, your wedding day." I looked at him askance. "I don't think that's quite her version of events." "Yeah, well," said Nate, "she's not here, so I'm just going to have to go with my version." "I could buy into that," I said, after a moment's consideration. "Excellent," he said, grinning. "Then you're going to love next week's installment in which he develops spontaneous alopecia.
Cary Attwell (The Other Guy)
I couldn't get enough of him. He was an addiction now, and I hadn't decided yet if he was a healthy one like eating apples every day or an unhealthy one like meth.
Megan Erickson (Fast Connection (Cyberlove, #2))
Yet they enjoy the high. In the surest sign that selenium actually makes them go mad, cattle grow addicted to locoweed despite its awful side effects and eat it to the exclusion of anything else. It’s animal meth.
Sam Kean (The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements)
Every time the telephone rings, my stomach constricts. Long after the euphoria from meth is no longer attainable—Tennessee Williams described the equivalent with alcohol in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: “I never again could get the click”—addicts are agitated and confused, and most stop eating and sleeping. Parents of addicts don’t sleep, either.
David Sheff (Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction)
She returned to numbness and despair. Life as it really was. A shrinking world of waiting terrors followed by nameless oblivion. The animate life of the Palms left her encumbered with the fact that she’d have to return to the crack house in the morning. Everything gnarled and black in her heart. Clara turned down seventh street. She heard the sounds of Joe snorting a bump of meth and the terrible rattling tick from deep in the car’s engine. She hoped for a message or warning in the tableau but was left wanting, as always.
Clay Anderson (The Palms: A novel)
I was so empty inside that I took all my cues about who I was from other people.
Kimberly Wollenburg (Crystal Clean: A mother's struggle with meth addiction and recovery)
I can feel the tears and they make me angry. Why do I cry all the time? Why am I so damn emotional?
Kimberly Wollenburg (Crystal Clean: A mother's struggle with meth addiction and recovery)
The bar looked like a place where meth-addicted rats went to die.
J.L. Bryan (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper, #1))
People are a lot easier to be around when they're not tweaking out on meth.
Joe Exotic (Tiger King: The Official Tell-All Memoir)
Every addict I know says the same thing, in one way or another: their drug of choice filled that empty space in their soul nothing else could touch.
Kimberly Wollenburg (Crystal Clean: A mother's struggle with meth addiction and recovery)
I was diagnosed with ADHD in my mid fifties and I was given Ritalin and Dexedrine. These are stimulant medications. They elevate the level of a chemical called dopamine in the brain. And dopamine is the motivation chemical, so when you are more motivated you pay attention. Your mind won't be all over the place. So we elevate dopamine levels with stimulant drugs like Ritalin, Aderall, Dexedrine and so on. But what else elevates Dopamine levels? Well, all other stimulants do. What other stimulants? Cocaine, crystal meth, caffeine, nicotine, which is to say that a significant minority of people that use stimulants, illicit stimulants, you know what they are actually doing? They're self-medicating their ADHD or their depression or their anxiety. So on one level (and we have to go deeper that that), but on one level addictions are about self-medications. If you look at alcoholics in one study, 40% of male adult alcoholics met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD? Why? Because alcohol soothes the hyperactive brain. Cannabis does the same thing. And in studies of stimulant addicts, about 30% had ADHD prior to their drug use. What else do people self-medicate? Someone mentioned depression. So, if you have been treated for depression, as I have been, and you were given a SSRI medication, these medications elevate the level of another brain chemical called serotonin, which is implicated in mood regulation. What else elevates serotonin levels temporarily in the brain? Cocaine does. People use cocaine to self-medicate depression. People use alcohol, cannabis and opiates to self-medicate anxiety. Incidentally people also use gambling or shopping to self-medicate because these activities also elevate dopamine levels in the brain. There is no difference between one addiction and the other. They're just different targets, but the brain systems that are involved and the target chemicals are the same, no matter what the addiction. So people self-medicate anxiety, depression. People self-medicate bipolar disorder with alcohol. People self-medicate Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder. So, one way to understand addictions is that they're self-medicating. And that's important to understand because if you are working with people who are addicted it is really important to know what's going on in their lives and why are they doing this. So apart from the level of comfort and pain relief, there's usually something diagnosible that's there at the same time. And you have to pay attention to that. At least you have to talk about it.
Gabor Maté
Meth users include men and women of every class, race, and background. Though the current epidemic has its roots in motorcycle gangs and lower-class rural and suburban neighborhoods, meth, as Newsweek reported in a 2005 cover story, has “marched across the country and up the socioeconomic ladder.” Now, “the most likely people and the most unlikely people take methamphetamine,” according to Frank Vocci, director of the Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
David Sheff (Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction)
I smoked my first pipe with Seth. I knew the stuff was bad, but I was so tired of being the cop, begging and ragging at him, throwing Pampers in his face when he walked in the door. I wanted to be on the same side again. So I smoked with Seth one afternoon when the girls were napping, and oh my God, I can only think about this for a minute or every part of me will turn into a mouth wanting more: the sexiness of it, fucking Seth like wild for the first time in months, going on even when the girls started to whimper and bang on the door. Then looking out the window and seeing the world shake itself to life: the heavy trees, the sky. And I was back on top. We were going to make it, Seth and I. The voice in my head was back again, telling me stories, too many to write down or even tell one from another.
Jennifer Egan (The Keep)
I don't see money as evil or good: how can illusion be evil or good? But I don't see heroin or meth as evil or good, either. Which is more addictive & debilitating, money or meth? Attachment to illusion makes you illusion, makes you not real. Attachment to illusion is called idolatry, called addiction.
Daniel Suelo (The Man Who Quit Money)
America has devolved,” Lustig once wrote, “from the aspirational, achievement-oriented ‘city on a hill’ we once were, into the addicted and depressed society that we’ve now become. Because we abdicated happiness for pleasure. Because pleasure got cheap.” The supply of it was everywhere. Like street dope.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
We invariably come back to testing as a means of understanding drug use, even though assuming these tests lead to truth puts one on shaky ground. You simply can't prove something to be true or false if the means of confirmation are easily questioned. Consider how the National Survey on Drug Use and Health concludes every four years how many meth addicts there are in the United States. First, surveyors ask employers to give their employees a questionnaire on drug use. The survey asks employees whether they have done amphetamines (not specifically methamphetamines) in their lifetime, in the last year, and/or in the last six months. First, it seems unlikely that drug addicts will take this completely optional test; will answer truthfully if they do take it; and will even be at work in the first place--as opposed to home cooking meth. Further, since methamphetamine is just one of a broad class of stimulants in the amphetamine family, an answer of yes to the question about using one amphetamine can't be taken as an answer of yes to using another. And yet, for the study's purposes, anyone who says they've done any kind of amphetamine in the last six months is considered "addicted to amphetamines," and--in a way that is impossible to understand--a certain percentage of these responders is deemed addicted to crank.
Nick Reding (Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town)
The truth is, the path to skid row isn't always laced in crystal meth - there is no concrete path that leads to insanity. Crazy is really just you or me and one bad day that leads to several more bad days. It's those of us who were forgotten about. Those of us who couldn't get help in time. Those of us with a disease that was misdiagnosed.
Trevor Church (The Gospel According to a Basket-Case)
Tuck had always been made smaller made than Stan. Narrow shoulders, tiny hands and short fingers. Even as a young man his brown eyes were always watering like he'd been crying and his face never took hair well. What he had instead were four or five patches of hair that looked like a cluster of bee stingers popping straight out from his cheeks.
Sheldon Lee Compton (Brown Bottle)
A handsome woman with auburn hair cut short, wearing a silk blouse, cardigan, and wool pants, says that she is a doctor. Deeply sad, she admits that for more than a year she conducted surgeries while high on meth. She initially tried it at a party. "I felt better than I had ever felt before in my life," she says. "I felt as if I could do anything. I never ever wanted to lose that feeling.
David Sheff (Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction)
The most ubiquitous form on the mainland is crystal, which is often manufactured with such ingredients as decongestants and brake cleaner in what the DEA has called “Beavis and Butt-head” labs in homes and garages. Mobile, or “box,” labs in campers and vans, and labs in motels, have been discovered in every state. In 2006, Bill Maher quipped, “If Americans get any dumber about science, they won’t even be able to make their own crystal meth.
David Sheff (Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction)
The Oregonian published an exposé by reporter Steve Suo that reveals that the government could have contained (and could still contain) the meth epidemic. Only nine factories manufacture the bulk of the world’s supply of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, but pharmaceutical companies—and legislators influenced by them—have stopped every move that would have effectively controlled the distribution of the chemicals so they could not be diverted to meth superlabs.
David Sheff (Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction)
Pleasure, Lustig said, is fleeting; happiness is long-lived. Pleasure comes from taking or getting; happiness comes from giving. Pleasure is achieved alone; happiness with others. Pleasure comes from substances or things; happiness does not. Pleasure releases dopamine in our brains, the constant search for more; happiness releases serotonin, producing feelings of contentment, an end to consumption. All of which means, Lustig said, that pleasure can prod our reward pathways into addiction; happiness cannot.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
The grandparents are raising the children because the biological parents have skipped off—for whatever reason, not always meth. The demands of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have often meant that both parents in a military family get deployed at once, and they leave their children with their grandparents. Layoffs of single working mothers lead a lot of families to decide to become multigenerational again. A wave of bipolar disorders and addiction to video games and gambling has also taken a toll on families.
Rinker Buck (The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey)
By the way, let me shatter a myth about addiction. This whole idea that drugs are addictive... they're not in themselves addictive. Studies have shown that a large number of people can be given opiates for pain and they don't become addicted. No drug, no substance in itself is addictive. Most people who try most substances, even repeatedly, and never become addicted to it. So you can talk about this "highly addictive drugs" like crack and crystal meth and all that. The vast majority of the people who try them never become addicted. So when we ask the question, "is alcohol addictive, yes or no", you know what the answer is? Yes or no. That's what the answer is. If you ask "is shopping addictive, yes or no", the answer is yes or no. Is food addictive, yes or no, is sexual acting out addictive, yes or no, the answer is yes or no. What we have to look at are the susceptabilities. What makes people prone to be addicted. Because the substance itself doesn't explain it. And therefore to put the emphasis on simply trying to stop the flow of drugs, as if that ever made any difference whatsoever, it is by definition to waste a lot of resources and to create a lot of unnecessary pain. That's not where the answer is.
Gabor Maté
THIS IS MY ABC BOOK of people God loves. We’ll start with . . .           A: God loves Adorable people. God loves those who are Affable and Affectionate. God loves Ambulance drivers, Artists, Accordion players, Astronauts, Airplane pilots, and Acrobats. God loves African Americans, the Amish, Anglicans, and Animal husbandry workers. God loves Animal-rights Activists, Astrologers, Adulterers, Addicts, Atheists, and Abortionists.           B: God loves Babies. God loves Bible readers. God loves Baptists and Barbershop quartets . . . Boys and Boy Band members . . . Blondes, Brunettes, and old ladies with Blue hair. He loves the Bedraggled, the Beat up, and the Burnt out . . . the Bullied and the Bullies . . . people who are Brave, Busy, Bossy, Bitter, Boastful, Bored, and Boorish. God loves all the Blue men in the Blue Man Group.           C: God loves Crystal meth junkies,           D: Drag queens,           E: and Elvis impersonators.           F: God loves the Faithful and the Faithless, the Fearful and the Fearless. He loves people from Fiji, Finland, and France; people who Fight for Freedom, their Friends, and their right to party; and God loves people who sound like Fat Albert . . . “Hey, hey, hey!”           G: God loves Greedy Guatemalan Gynecologists.           H: God loves Homosexuals, and people who are Homophobic, and all the Homo sapiens in between.           I: God loves IRS auditors.           J: God loves late-night talk-show hosts named Jimmy (Fallon or Kimmel), people who eat Jim sausages (Dean or Slim), people who love Jams (hip-hop or strawberry), singers named Justin (Timberlake or Bieber), and people who aren’t ready for this Jelly (Beyoncé’s or grape).           K: God loves Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye Kardashian. (Please don’t tell him I said that.)           L: God loves people in Laos and people who are feeling Lousy. God loves people who are Ludicrous, and God loves Ludacris. God loves Ladies, and God loves Lady Gaga.           M: God loves Ministers, Missionaries, and Meter maids; people who are Malicious, Meticulous, Mischievous, and Mysterious; people who collect Marbles and people who have lost their Marbles . . . and Miley Cyrus.           N: God loves Ninjas, Nudists, and Nose pickers,           O: Obstetricians, Orthodontists, Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, and Overweight Obituary writers,           P: Pimps, Pornographers, and Pedophiles,           Q: the Queen of England, the members of the band Queen, and Queen Latifah.           R: God loves the people of Rwanda and the Rebels who committed genocide against them.           S: God loves Strippers in Stilettos working on the Strip in Sin City;           T: it’s not unusual that God loves Tom Jones.           U: God loves people from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates; Ukrainians and Uruguayans, the Unemployed and Unemployment inspectors; blind baseball Umpires and shady Used-car salesmen. God loves Ushers, and God loves Usher.           V: God loves Vegetarians in Virginia Beach, Vegans in Vietnam, and people who eat lots of Vanilla bean ice cream in Las Vegas.           W: The great I AM loves He loves Waitresses who work at Waffle Houses, Weirdos who have gotten lots of Wet Willies, and Weight Watchers who hide Whatchamacallits in their Windbreakers.           X: God loves X-ray technicians.           Y: God loves You.           Z: God loves Zoologists who are preparing for the Zombie apocalypse. God . . . is for the rest of us. And we have the responsibility, the honor, of letting the world know that God is for them, and he’s inviting them into a life-changing relationship with him. So let ’em know.
Vince Antonucci (God for the Rest of Us: Experience Unbelievable Love, Unlimited Hope, and Uncommon Grace)
But maybe because I'm from a part of the country where there are more meth labs than drive-throughs, anything harder than cough syrup always makes me nervous.
Alena Graedon (The Word Exchange)
Screw you. I said I had a dress-ordering problem. Not a creepin'-with-random-guys-while-my-kids-are-at-soccer-practice meth addiction
Meredith Spidel ("You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth" and Other Things You'll Only Hear from Your Friends In The Powder Room)
Recent functional MRI studies in adolescents have shown that addiction to cocaine and meth alters connectivity patterns between the brain’s two hemispheres as well as other important regions that use dopamine as a transmitter. What is interesting about the MRI studies of Internet addicts is that they are similar in pattern.
Frances E. Jensen (The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults)
I’ve never understood the selfishness of drug addicts.
Jamie Lee Scott (What a Meth (Gotcha Detective Agency Mysteries #4))
even for a meth addict. She was sleeping
James Patterson (14th Deadly Sin (Women's Murder Club #14))
We pulled into the parking lot of the bar, which looked like a repurposed Pizza Hut, with brick walls and a flaking red roof. A few motorcycles sat outside, along with more than one dingy pick-up truck decorated with the Confederate flag. The bar looked like a place where meth-addicted rats went to die.
J.L. Bryan (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper, #1))
I can’t.” I scoot forward on the chair and lean close to Carolyn. She freezes, trying to keep her eyes from meeting mine. “Or maybe you’re not Hunter’s friend and you gave him a hot shot. Is that what you did, Carolyn? Did someone give you a special dose of Akira just for Hunter?” Stop digging, boys, we struck oil. Carolyn’s brain is still humming like a tuning fork, but at least she’s focused on something now. It’s there in her eyes. She’s beating herself silly trying to make all the contradictions and lies in her life add up to something sane. She really believes she’s Hunter’s friend, but the meth fog she lives in lets her justify giving Hunter drugs she knew were bad because someone up the food chain promised her more drugs or more money or the chance to settle a long-standing debt. Whatever her reasons, she feels guilty as hell. The addict self-pity tears start pumping out of her red and bruised eyes. I want to smack her to see if it snaps her brain back into gear, but I just pat her lightly on the shoulder. I keep my voice low, like I’m speaking to a child.
Richard Kadrey (Aloha from Hell (Sandman Slim, #3))
those whose addiction made everyone else pay the price. After three years as assistant county attorney, during which things had gone from bad to worse (in Oelwein), he found it harder and harder to see the nuances of life after meth.
Nick Reding (Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town)
in 1985, one of Hitler’s doctors, Ernst-Günther Schenck, revealed that the Führer “demanded interjections of invigorating and tranquilizing drugs,” including methamphetamine. It’s widely believed by many that Hitler’s subsequent and progressive Parkinson’s-like symptoms, if not his increasingly derelict mental state, were a direct result of his meth addiction.
Nick Reding (Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town)
liberty is self-mastery—the rule of the self, by the self. To have positive liberty, he explained, is to take control of one’s own mind; to be liberated from irrational fears and beliefs, from addictions, superstitions and all other forms of self-coercion. I had no idea what it meant to self-coerce. I looked around the room. No one else seemed confused. I was one of the few students taking notes. I wanted to ask for further explanation, but something stopped me—the certainty that to do so would be to shout to the room that I didn’t belong there. After the lecture, I returned to my room, where I stared out my window at the stone gate with its medieval battlements. I thought of positive liberty, and of what it might
Tara Westover (Educated)
You know how some people develop addictions to manage their overwhelming emotions? Some people become alcoholics, coke fiends, potheads, pill-poppers, over-eaters, sex addicts or meth-heads. Well, Ann seemed to have a similar addiction to anger, he concluded. Feeling angry served the dual purpose of keeping others at a safe distance while drowning out all other competing and overwhelming emotions.
Sage Steadman (Ann, Not Annie)
District of San Francisco, where there was an enormous population in a dangerously
Sterling R. Braswell (Crazy Town: Money. Marriage. Meth.: A Riveting Personal Account and a Thorough Global History of Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction)
Dr. McCauley told us it’s time to treat addiction as the public health catastrophe it’s become.
Barbara Cofer Stoefen (A Very Fine House: A Mother's Story of Love, Faith, and Crystal Meth)
For most, drug addiction ultimately becomes synonymous with criminality, and a criminal record follows them everywhere and forever.
Barbara Cofer Stoefen (A Very Fine House: A Mother's Story of Love, Faith, and Crystal Meth)
Addiction in the family will change you. You can allow the change to consume and damage you, or you can embrace the lessons that life now presents.
Barbara Cofer Stoefen (A Very Fine House: A Mother's Story of Love, Faith, and Crystal Meth)
Most people do look at drug addicts in moral terms. “It’s your own fault,” they’ll say. “Drugs are bad, and you shouldn’t have done what you did.” If my own kid hadn’t become a drug addict, I might not get it either. Some close to me still don’t.
Barbara Cofer Stoefen (A Very Fine House: A Mother's Story of Love, Faith, and Crystal Meth)
addicts are everywhere. They’re where we work, play, worship, and go to school. Addiction does not discriminate. It knows no color, no ethnicity, no religion, no gender or sexual orientation.
Barbara Cofer Stoefen (A Very Fine House: A Mother's Story of Love, Faith, and Crystal Meth)
We have to stop moralizing, blaming, controlling or smirking at the person with the disease of addiction, and start creating opportunities for individuals and families to get help . . .
Barbara Cofer Stoefen (A Very Fine House: A Mother's Story of Love, Faith, and Crystal Meth)
addiction is not a choice.
Barbara Cofer Stoefen (A Very Fine House: A Mother's Story of Love, Faith, and Crystal Meth)
crystal meth has such a pull and takes hold so well is that it makes you feel things to the extreme. While your brain is adjusting, you may
Kevin Anderson (Crystal Meth Addiction: The Ultimate Guide to Overcoming Crystal Meth Addiction For Life! (meth addiction, crystal meth addiction, meth, crystal meth, substance abuse, drug abuse, addictions))
Netherlands, which has a restrictive immigration policy compared to the United States. Most European nations, including the Netherlands, after all, have universal health insurance coverage, which makes drug treatment and psychiatric treatment more available, and the Dutch government subsidizes more housing. Finally, the Netherlands’ big success was with heroin, which has effective pharmacological substitutes, methadone and Suboxone, not with meth, which lacks anything similar. But there may be fewer obstacles than appear. The Netherlands has a private health-care insurance system similar to that of the United States and covered the people who needed health care in ways similar to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, which significantly expanded access to drug treatment, including medically assisted treatment, in the United States.4 San Francisco subsidizes a significant quantity of housing, as we have seen. While California is larger than the Netherlands, the population of Amsterdam (872,000) is nearly identical to San Francisco’s (882,000).5 And while California’s population and geographic area are larger and more difficult to manage than those of the Netherlands, California also has significantly greater wealth and resources, constituting in 2019 the fifth-largest economy in the world.6 And the approach to breaking up open drug scenes, treating addiction, and providing psychiatric care is fundamentally the same whether in five European cities, Philadelphia, New York, or Phoenix.
Michael Shellenberger (San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities)
Have we engineered foods to rush such a dose of sugar, fat, salt that they imbalance the brain’s reward system, causing it to respond as it does to addictive drugs?
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Together, these experiments pioneered the evidence that sugar was addictive and hit the same brain receptors as did drugs such as heroin.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Amid all this, I read Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick, a fascinating book by Wendy Wood, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California, who argues that habits change when they’re harder to practice. Addiction isn’t about rational decisions, she wrote. If it were, Americans would have quit smoking soon after 1964, when the US Surgeon General issued his first report on its risks. American nicotine addicts kept smoking, knowing they were killing themselves, because nicotine had changed their brain chemistry, and cigarettes were everywhere. We stopped smoking, Wood argues, by making it harder to do—adding “friction” to the activity. In other words, we limited access to supply. We removed cigarette vending machines, banned smoking in airports, planes, parks, beaches, bars, restaurants, and offices. By adding friction to smoking, we also removed the brain cues that prompted us to smoke: bars where booze, friends, and cigarettes went together, for example.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
We are every masked nurse on a packed ward, every addict eating from the trash, every kid hoping for more than his crack-ridden street. We are every cop carrying someone’s child from a meth house.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Ice, or crystal methamphetamine, had long replaced heroin in North Korea as the foreign-currency earner of choice for the state. It’s a synthetic drug that is not dependent on crops, as heroin is, and can be manufactured to a high purity in state labs. Most of the addicts in China were getting high on crystal meth made in North Korea. Like the opium of the past, crystal meth, though just as illegal, had become an alternative currency in North Korea, and given as gifts and bribes.
Hyeonseo Lee (The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story)
A primary factor in this shift is, as The New York Times wrote, “Mostly white and politically conservative counties have continued to send more drug offenders to prison, reflecting the changing geography of addiction. While crack cocaine addiction was centered in cities, opioid and meth addiction are ravaging small communities” in largely white locales. The “pathology” long ascribed to urban communities as integral and immutable characteristics of Black life (drug addiction, property crimes to support a habit, broken families) has now moved, with deindustrialization, into the suburbs and the countryside. By 2018, an estimated 130 people were dying every day from opioid overdoses, and over 10 million people were abusing prescription opioids.
Heather McGhee (The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together)
Traffickers, meanwhile, had discovered a way to make methamphetamine in harrowing new amounts. While I was on the road, their meth reached all corners of the country and became the fourth stage of the drug-addiction crisis. Opiate addicts began to switch to meth, or use both together. This made no sense in the traditional drug world. One was a depressant, the other a stimulant. But it was as if their brains were primed for any drug. This stage did not involve mass deaths. Rather, the new meth gnawed at brains in frightening ways. Suddenly users displayed symptoms of schizophrenia—paranoia, hallucinations. The spread of this meth provoked homelessness across the country. Homeless encampments of meth users appeared in rural towns—“They’re almost like villages,” one Indiana counselor said. In the West, large tent encampments formed, populated by people made frantic by unseen demons in Skid Row in Los Angeles, Sunnyslope in Phoenix, the tunnels in Las Vegas. This methamphetamine, meanwhile, prompted strange obsessions—with bicycles, with flashlights, and with hoarding junk. In each of these places, it seemed mental illness was the problem. It was, but so much of it was induced by the new meth.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
The story wasn’t at heart only about economic devastation. It wasn’t just about those at the bottom. Not just hotel maids or supermarket cashiers or single moms. It was all of us. This made more sense as I read what neuroscience can now tell us: that every human brain has capacity for addiction. Isolation is part of why some people get addicted and some do not. So was trauma. Abuse, rape, neglect, PTSD, a parent’s drug use were as unspoken in America as addiction and as prevalent. The epidemic was revealing this. I also connected the epidemic to consumer marketing of legal addictive stuffs: sugar, video games, social media, gambling.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
If your intent is to throw a barrage of dozens of strikes, thinking that an accumulation of tens of strikes will drop the opponent, you have the wrong mindset. GM Maranga is one of the few short stick fighters with the right mindset. He counters with a single strike, but most importantly, his intent is to drop you with that strike. And trust me, he hits very hard. I have a saying: “My goal is not to hit the opponent, but to drop him. Hitting him is a means of achieving that goal.” It's not enough to hit him. It's not enough to hurt him. Getting him to yell “Ouch!” is not going to stop a meth addict with a blade. My aim is to shut him down. So if I'm hitting him but not incapacitating him, my strikes are ineffective. In my mind I am crushing his kneecap. I am fracturing his skull. If he raises an arm or stick to block, I am committed to blasting through it like a runaway dump truck. In my mind I am breaking any upraised arm.
Darrin Cook (Big Stick Combat: Baseball Bat, Cane, & Long Stick for Fitness and Self-Defense)
As I traveled and spoke with neuroscientists, it seemed that one way of thinking of America in the last four decades is that we gradually surrendered—collectively, as a culture—to the brain’s reward pathway. Our prosperity allowed us this luxury. We could follow the nucleus accumbens and the pursuit of dopamine and pleasure. This was one way of understanding the Opioid Era in America. Our epidemic of opioid addiction was just an extreme expression of a culture in which, in so many ways, Me won the battle over Us.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Marijuana, meanwhile, produces a chemical called THC that attaches to the second class of receptors (discovered in 1988). These receptors were then deemed “cannabinoid receptors,” and the brain chemicals that attach to them were called endocannabinoids (for endogenous cannabinoids). Because molecules in these plants attach to these receptors in our brain and elsewhere, they can, in small amounts, enhance our lives. Marijuana can calm the nausea in chemotherapy patients and improve the appetite of AIDS patients. Morphine and other opioids, of course, numb pain and allow for surgery to take place. In the bowels, opioids can control diarrhea—as Paul Janssen knew when he invented loperamide. But in larger quantities, far beyond what the brain can produce, these molecules prod our brain receptors to excess. THC in marijuana overwhelms the cannabinoid receptors and produces ravenous hunger and faulty memory. The morphine molecule locks with the opioid receptors to produce euphoria and numb pain. Opioid receptors in our lungs govern breathing; too much morphine molecule shuts down breathing, which is how overdose victims die. The morphine molecule also produces constipation in addicts. In withdrawals, without the drug, addicts suffer diarrhea. (Naloxone, the overdose antidote, is occasionally used to treat constipation.) (Interestingly, the natural substances that make humans high actually evolved in their plants as pesticides, to keep predator insects from feasting on their leaves. Nicotine is a pesticide that tobacco naturally produces. So is caffeine in coffee, cocaine in the coca leaf, morphine in the opium poppy, and perhaps THC in marijuana as well.) In
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Still, my reporting found that P2P meth in massive quantities is damaging minds, perhaps irreparably, across the United States. The growing homeless encampments in many cities and rural towns are meth’s deadening creation, I’m convinced. Though other drugs and alcohol are part of the mix, many encampments are simply meth colonies. They provide a community for users, creating the kinds of environmental cues that USC psychologist Wendy Wood found crucial in forming habits. Encampments are places where addicts flee from treatment, where they can find the warm embrace of approval for their meth use. “It took me twelve years of using before I was homeless,” said Talie Wenick, a counselor in Bend, Oregon. “Now, within a year they’re homeless. So many homeless camps have popped up around Central Oregon—huge camps on Bureau of Land Management land, with tents and campers and roads they’ve cleared themselves. And everyone’s using. You’re trying to help someone get clean, and they live in a camp where everyone is using.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
P2P meth’s intense paranoia, combined with days without sleep, produces bizarre obsessions. One of them is coloring books. Some I spoke to spent hours coloring. Another obsession is with flashlights and headlamps. Paranoia plus endless nighttime hours awake prod users to light up areas where someone might be lurking. Meth users develop flashlight fetishes, collecting a dozen or more. The new meth has also promoted hoarding, which is why so many homeless encampments are filled with seemingly purposeless junk. Many addicts, up all night, ride bicycles through the streets, with flashlights and headlamps to dig through the trash for things to keep, sell, or trade for dope.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
They were coming up in a world very different from his—amid a toxic soup of addictive options, many legal. Vapes came with 90 percent THC. These kids seemed to assume that drugs were indivisible from life, an element in everything they saw, listened to, and did. They weren’t wrong, Alexander thought. But that wasn’t even the biggest difference. It was the potency of dope that was higher than ever—merciless. The supply of it seemed endless, sold by astute marketers. For all the mistakes teenagers make, it seemed to Alexander that the drugs and how they were purveyed now ensured that they received no forgiveness.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Kenton County began shuttling inmates from 104 directly to the LLC to avoid the perilous bus trip. The day before I met Webb-Edgington, eleven people from the jail arrived. LLC staff fed them, then got busy finding them beds in sober-living houses. They fitted a couple for eyeglasses. One man was wearing only shorts; outside, the temperature was 21 degrees. LLC staff dug him up a pair of pants. Kenton County jailer Terry Carl hired a social worker to sign inmates up for Medicaid. They often asked her for dental care, too. Ravaged teeth were as public a sign of street addiction as visible tattoos. Improved smiles, on the other hand, helped their confidence; then they dressed better and they got their hair cut, too. Some of them got tattoos removed by Jo Martin, who in the winter of 2019, three years after being turned away, moved her lasers into an office at the LLC. Jason Merrick imagined now what he called “recovery-ready communities”—towns geared to helping addicts recover. “This is what rehabilitation looks like,” Merrick told me. “It’s a full continuum of care, not just punishment.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Meanwhile, the chain cut back on a lot of what might have helped deter shoplifting. Lee Scott, Walmart’s chairman from 2000 to 2009—the years when the opiate addiction crisis was gathering force—came in to boost profits by cutting costs. Workers already weren’t paid a lot. Under Scott, Walmart stores cut staff on the floor and greeters at the entrances, all of which deterred crime. It seemed to me that their store design already encouraged shoplifting, with dimmer lights compared to other stores, no videos in restrooms or at blind corners. With automatic cashiers at the exits, shoppers could spend an entire outing at Walmart and not see an employee. In a good many towns, Walmart was the only store. In others, it was one of the few, coexisting with a supermarket, maybe a Big Lots or a JCPenney. Either way, I found, no chain had a reputation among drug users for being easier to rip off than Walmart. I heard this over and over. They avoided Target because of its wider aisles and brighter lights. Whatever the dealers wanted in exchange for their dope was usually available at Walmart. The chain offered an easy shopping experience—and an easy shoplifting experience, as well. “It was convenient,” said Monica Tucker, who runs a drug rehab center in eastern Tennessee but was a meth addict for seven years, and supported her habit at Walmart. “Anything you were requested to get [by the dealer], you could find it there. We stole lots of food. We weren’t eating because we were on meth, but everybody else was hungry at the dope dealer’s house.” With opioids, then later with meth, plentiful drug supply was paired with this easy source of goods to barter. Had there been the same vibrant Main Streets, ecosystems of the locally owned stores that were the lifeblood of many owners who lived in town and returned their profits to it, both the opioid crisis and the meth problem might have spread less quickly in many parts of the country.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Colt’s meth business owed a lot to Walmart. Many addicts stole merchandise then redeemed it for gift cards. Colt got a lot of these from his customers, back when the chain gave gift cards for exchanged new items even without a receipt. One of his customers obtained a key to the Walmart laptop cage from a friend who worked at the store. Colt took in several stolen laptops, as well as flat-screen TVs that weren’t under lock and key at Walmart. Some of his customers piled the TVs into their cars so fast that the screens broke. Colt would give them next to nothing in dope. Then he’d buy the same TV from Walmart, return with the broken TV and his new receipt and get a refund.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
For several months, about all I did was talk to addicts, counselors, and cops around the country—over the phone because the pandemic restricted travel. Meth was overshadowed by the opioid epidemic. But the people I spoke to told me stories nearly identical to Eric’s. This new meth itself was quickly, intensely damaging people’s brains. The symptoms were always the same—violent paranoia, hallucinations, figures always lurking in the shadows, isolation, rotted and abscessed dental work, uncontrollable limbs, massive memory loss, jumbled speech, and, almost always, homelessness. It was creating a swath of people nationwide who, while on meth and for a good period afterward, were mentally ill and all but untreatable by usual methods of drug rehabilitation. Ephedrine-made meth wasn’t good for the brain, but it was nothing like this. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are afflictions that begin in the young. Now people in their thirties and forties were going mad. The new meth was also deadly in a way ephedrine meth was not. It was killing young people with congestive heart failure, a disease common to people over sixty-five.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
The homeless addicts the police ticketed were placed in housing. That had been the model for years: get people housed, then treat their drug use. But P2P meth changed the model. These folks invited other users over, and together they tore up the apartments. Ortenzio watched this and realized that the new meth required places for users to detox, then spend time recovering—six weeks at least. Otherwise, “these people are unhousable,” he told me. “They can’t be managed. It’s not sane to just put folks in housing when they’re in this condition.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
As COVID-19 hit, instead of continuing the Mission as a flophouse, Ortenzio opened a Resurrection Room, where addicts could spend ninety days quarantined in sobriety. Two users well-known to the Clarksburg street world—Melissa Carter and Jesse Clevenger, who stopped using when they were forced into drug court—found sobriety at the Mission and have become his recovery recruiters. Clevenger had been a major heroin dealer in town, selling to dozens of people a day while feeling, he said, “like you were a house-call doctor. Everybody you talked to all day were at their worst—sick, had no money, crying.” Then Clevenger was forced into a drug court and treatment. It was either that or prison. “I wouldn’t have got clean,” he said, “if I didn’t have that ultimatum.” Now he was out among meth addicts and preaching recovery at the Mission.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Lou Ortenzio thought that was a better plan for the Mission than simply as a flophouse. “This is an adjustment for me,” he said. “We want to stop enabling. We want to put some pressure on addicts to change, even if they don’t like it. If you do love someone, you have to tolerate them hating you, at least for a bit.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
In 2014, as the flows of the new meth were just beginning, Californians passed Proposition 47. Rather than expanding the ways felony drug-possession arrests could be used as leverage by judges to push people into treatment and recovery, Prop. 47 made those charges misdemeanors. Cops stopped making those arrests. Those who were arrested tended to refuse treatment and judges had no leverage to force them into it. So they remained on the street and fewer addicts went to treatment, just as the street drugs they used became more prevalent, addictive, and brain-damaging than ever.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
When asked how many of the people he met in those encampments had lost housing due to high rents or health insurance, Eric could not remember one. Meth was the reason they were there and couldn’t leave. Of the hundred or so vets he had brought out of the encampments and into housing, all but three returned. Eric grew weary of wanting recovery for the people he met more than they wanted it for themselves. Such was the pull. Some were addicted to other things: crack or heroin, alcohol or gambling. Most of them used any drug available. But what Eric and Mundo most encountered by far was crystal methamphetamine.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Drug demand is important in all this. But it must be said: these stories begin with supply. Our opioid addiction epidemic began with a mighty supply of pain pills prescribed every year, which created widespread addiction that continues to this day. Right about that time, traffickers were discovering that synthetic drugs were not just immensely profitable but could create or shift demand simply because they could be made in unprecedented quantities all year long. So they flocked to them. The British Empire has rightly received history’s condemnation for pushing its colonies’ opium on China—waging the two Opium Wars to do so in the nineteenth century. Those supplies took what had been a minor problem in China and created a drug scourge that would afflict that country for a century.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
I’m sympathetic to the idea of drug legalization as a response to this. We made a tragic mistake through the twentieth century in gradually criminalizing drugs that ought to have been dealt with—were being dealt with—medically. We created a profit center for mafias around the world. We stopped considering ways to reduce overdose deaths—studying, for example, how safe injection sites work elsewhere. Among other things, criminalization also prevented us from fully studying these drugs for their medicinal benefits and harms. The problem is, I don’t trust American capitalism to do drug legalization responsibly. The last fifty years are replete with examples of corporations turning addictive services and substances against us, fine-tuning their addictiveness, then marketing them aggressively. Remember when social media was going to be the great technological connective tissue, bringing people together, inaugurating a new era of understanding? Instead, it midwifed an era of virulent tribalism. The opioid epidemic began with legal drugs, irresponsibly marketed and prescribed. The Sacklers are only one example of a tendency that nestles into every corner of American capitalism when it is allowed to extract maximum profit from products and services that neuroscience shows our brains are vulnerable to. Meanwhile, alcohol and cigarettes kill more than any other drug by far, because they are legal and widely available. Alcohol also drives arrests and incarceration more than any other single drug. Our brains are no match for the consumer and marketing culture to emerge in the last few decades. They are certainly no match for the highly potent illegal street drugs now circulating.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Marijuana, up to now, gives me little reason to adjust that opinion. Pot can be responsibly legalized. Instead, we are choosing the route we took with opioids: a now-legal, potent drug is being made widely available and marketed with claims about its risk-free nature. Big Pot is only a matter of time. Altria, which owns Marlboro, is moving into legal marijuana. The final absurdity is that as we face climate change’s existential threat, we make a weed that thrives under the sun legal to grow indoors, with a huge carbon footprint. Pot may well have medical benefits. Opioids certainly do. But supply matters. So does potency and marketing and distribution. The opioid-addiction crisis should have taught us that. I’m
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Marijuana, up to now, gives me little reason to adjust that opinion. Pot can be responsibly legalized. Instead, we are choosing the route we took with opioids: a now-legal, potent drug is being made widely available and marketed with claims about its risk-free nature. Big Pot is only a matter of time. Altria, which owns Marlboro, is moving into legal marijuana. The final absurdity is that as we face climate change’s existential threat, we make a weed that thrives under the sun legal to grow indoors, with a huge carbon footprint. Pot may well have medical benefits. Opioids certainly do. But supply matters. So does potency and marketing and distribution. The opioid-addiction crisis should have taught us that. I’m sympathetic to the idea of decriminalizing drugs, as well. Yet I believe it misunderstands the nature of addiction and ignores the unforgiving drug stream every addict must face today. One reason overdose deaths during the coronavirus pandemic skyrocketed is that police in many areas stopped arresting people for the minor crimes and outstanding warrants that are symptoms of their addictions. Left on the street, many use until they die. Certainly the story of that death toll is as complex as those of the people whose deaths are counted in it. But I suspect we’ll come to see the last ten months of 2020 and into 2021 at least in part as one long, unplanned experiment into what happens when the most devastating street drugs we’ve known are, in effect, decriminalized, and those addicted to them are allowed to remain on the street to use them.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Decriminalizing drugs also removes the one lever we have to push men and women toward sobriety. Waiting around for them to decide to opt for treatment is the opposite of compassion when the drugs on the street are as cheap, prevalent, and deadly as they are today. We used to believe people needed to hit rock bottom before seeking treatment. That’s another idea made obsolete by our addiction crisis and the current synthetic drug supply. It belongs to an era when drugs of choice were merciful. Nowadays people are living in tents, screaming at unseen demons, raped, pimped, beaten, unshowered, and unfed. That would seem to be rock bottom. Yet it’s not enough to persuade people to get treatment. In Columbus, Ohio, Giti Mayton remembers a meth addict who was hospitalized with frostbitten, gangrenous hands, yet who left the hospital in midwinter to find more dope. San Francisco and Philadelphia, two cities with years of experience with heroin, are seeing users homeless and dying like never before. The dope is different now. Today, rock bottom is death.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
We need to use arrests, but not as a reason to send someone to prison. Instead, criminal charges are leverage we can use to pry users from the dope that will consume them otherwise. Our era of synthetic street drugs requires this. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink—however, you can make him thirsty,” said Brandon Cox, a recovering addict in Lancaster, Ohio, who is now a paramedic. “You’re not going to get better unless you’re willing to get better. Finding that emerging willingness is critical. For me, it was the threat of doing years in prison.” Some people find that willingness on the street. It happens. But many do not, cannot.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Happily, drug courts around America are doing this work—using the threat of prison terms to push addicts into treatment, where they can put some space between their brain and dope and slowly embrace sobriety. Life repair can then begin. It’s happening across the country—as in Scott Barrett’s Recovery Court in Kenton, Ohio. It’s slow, hard work, with slip-ups and success. But this rethinking of courts and judging is harm reduction of the most elemental form. County drug courts are not a luxury. Synthetic drugs have made them a necessity. After all, people can’t recover when they’re dead, which is what decriminalizing today’s fearsome synthetic drug stream risks.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)
Today, much of our culture grows from the opposite of what motivated the Marshall Plan. It grows from the self-centered nucleus accumbens. That urge to always think we don’t have enough. Dopamine convinces us that happiness lies around the corner, just a little bit more, and this prevents us from enjoying serotonin’s contentment with what we already possess. I see connections to our national drug-addiction epidemic in the fact that every year dozens of Fortune 500 corporations pay no federal income taxes, while many American families worry about rent and food. I see the epidemic connected to the massive amount of US wealth diverted from the bottom and the middle to the top in the last forty years. Jobs that went overseas were just the free market at work—nothing to be done. I don’t think we should wonder why so many of our towns and neighborhoods are threadbare and drug addiction so widespread.
Sam Quinones (The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth)