Untamed Addiction - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Untamed Addiction

Desperate addicts will kill you to get the money to buy it, making it creates an environmental nightmare, and cops say any kid, even yours, is at risk for trying it.

That drug, Methamphetamine or Meth, is now an emerging menace in South Florida after first decimating communities in other parts of the country. Whether it's smoked, snorted, swallowed or injected, meth is now the single most addictive drug.

Mandy Lussier/Former Meth User: "I think mentally after the first time I was addicted to it."

In the life of the addict nothing is more important than the next hit.

Quinn Premick/Former Meth User: "I started doing it every hour on the hour, doing anything I could to get it."

Quinn Premick and Mandy Lussier are two regular kids with separate lives but similar stories about the intoxicating lure of this drug and how it seized control of their lives. Each was hooked from the start, believing meth gave them confidence, intelligence and boundless energy. But the illusion of euphoria quickly fades into desperation. Many addicts commit violent crimes for their next fix.

Quinn Pre-mick/Former Meth User: "I did some jail sentences for aggravated assault, beat someone up with a stick to get his money and his car."

Were you high at the time?

Quinn Pre-mick/Former Meth User:" Yeah."

A staggering forty-five times each day in the U.S. a methamphetimine lab is busted. Florida is one of the last states to now suffer this epidemic.

Mark Trouville/DEA Miami: "We're kinda late to be getting this problem, it's worked its way across the country."

In Riveria Beach cops found storage units packed with all the ingredients to make meth. This Fort Pierce home used to cook meth. The tools are common household chemicals which, when combined, create a toxic stench. DEA agents don't go in without haz mat suits.

Mark Trouville/DEA Miami: "If you walk in and breathe ether of hydrochloric acid you could be burned internally or hit the wrong button and you could start a fire."

The chemicals themselves are potentially explosive when combined. This Florida motel room used to make meth, proof of that. Yet addicts often cook this chemical concoction inside the homes they share with their kids.

In this bust a baby sits next to his drugged out mother. A young life caught in the middle of an ugly epidemic. Ugly even on the faces of its victims. Meth rots the teeth and speeds aging. This user went from this to this in four years.

This epidemic also makes it harder for you to buy cold medicine. Pseudophedrine is a common ingredient and meth makers need it to produce their drug so they buy or steal cold medicine for use in their labs. Now some local stores are keeping over the counter products behind the counter but not all meth is homemade.

Mark Trouville/DEA Miami: "The other problem we're facing, is an influx of meth from drug trafficking organizations out of Mexico."

Quinn Pre-mick/Former Meth User: "It's everywhere, it's everywhere."

For Quinn it took a scare in the E.R. to quit.

Quinn Pre-mick/Former Meth User: "They had to inject adrenaline to bring me back. I was then in and out of consciousness. The nurse told me a boy in that same bed died, same nurse same circumstances."

Mandy Lussier/Former Meth User: "Toward the end I was losing it.. I was so high I didn't know what was going on, and I couldn't take it anymore. I just felt sad, I wanted to die."

Mandy and Quinn are both in recovery. Counselors say meth addicts come from every walk of life.

Chris Crosby/The Watershed: "Whose kid is at risk of trying this drug? Everyone's child is at risk for trying this drug. It's the crack of the new millennium."

If you have kids in their teens or twenties counselors urge you to talk with them about meth. It's not uncommon for good kids to start this drug as a way of staying up late and studying. A lot more information about this drug, including the warning signs that will tip you off if your kid is using, can be found on these websites:

DEA Website
Watershed Website

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