Sunday, December 16, 2007

III - Why No War on Methamphetamine?

So, Prof. Lester Spence stopped in and made a couple quick surgical cuts helping to solve a part of the "why no war on meth" equation. In a nutshell, rural and suburban crime and criminality are not part of the narrative used to sustain support within the American consensus reality for law enforcement and the prison industrial complex.

In 2005 it was reported that 58 percent of law enforcement officials in 500 counties surveyed by the National Association of Counties cite methamphetamine as their biggest drug problem. Half in the sample said that up to 20 percent of their inmates were incarcerated because of meth-related crimes, and some segments representing small counties and areas in the upper Midwest reported as many as 75 to 100 percent of their incarcerations as meth-related.

While that survey drew on a disproportionate number of counties in the West where meth is most widely available, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) in February 2005, published results from a larger, random sample of 3,400 drug enforcement agencies nationwide. In the NDIC survey, for the first time since they have been taking such surveys, a plurality (40 percent) considered meth their leading drug threat. Cocaine came in second at 36 percent, and marijuana at 12 percent.

No systemic incentives are proffered to the county sheriffs responsible for enforcing laws in the rural precincts of America. Though the meth epidemic has taken a horrific toll on both rural and suburban denizens, and caused an epidemic spike in crime and criminality, it just doesn't matter as much to TPTB as open-air, urban crack dealers. It's not part of the dominant narrative depended upon to manage and sustain public support for the contemporary version of the thin blue line. (which quite obviously has a mission somewhat different from traditional "protect and serve" crime prevention, detection, deterrence and maintenance of law and order for the welfare of the general citizenry);
A NEW report on drug abuse has turned an old stereotype on its head: young teenagers in rural parts of the United States are more likely to use illegal drugs than those in big cities. Data gathered by the National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) say that eighth-graders (mainly 12-to-14-year-olds) living in the country are twice as likely as their urban counterparts to have used amphetamines, including methamphetamine, in the past month.

The same bucolic adolescents are also 34% more likely to have smoked marijuana in the past month, 50% likelier to have snorted cocaine and 83% more likely to have abused crack cocaine. “It’s time for all Americans to recognise that drugs are not only an urban problem,” says Joseph Califano, CASA’s president. …
Hat tip to Submariner

Freeing America from its addiction to methamphetamine is clearly not an elite management priority. Building and maintaining an increasingly militarized urban police capability along with the most massive detention and incarceration infrastructure in the world IS an elite management priority.
Ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and methamphetamine are close molecular cousins; meth, in fact, is ephedrine minus a single oxygen atom. As a result, their effects on the body are similar. All three shrink blood vessels in the nose and dilate airways in lungs, while unleashing adrenaline that stimulates the heart. With meth, the latter effect is most pronounced. Removing the oxygen atom, it turns out, makes the molecule fit receptor cells in the human brain "like a key in the lock," said Paul Doering, a professor of pharmacy at the University of Florida.
The Oregonian published an article three years ago called Shelved Solutions giving the pharmaceutical industry angle on the story - and while it's a certainly a necessary part of the puzzle as it relates to home cooking methamphetamine, it sheds almost no light on the domestic meta-economic traffic and the vast toll which increasing demand, crime, and criminality is taking on rural and suburban population groupings. Thinking and dot-connecting sufficient to encompass all of what is transpiring in the U.S. on this front would fall much more along these lines. I just raise the questions evident out the corner of your eye. I leave it to you to connect the liminal dots and bring the fuzzy picture more clearly into focus.