"Clay and Vigo counties are getting hit hard by the epidemic of meth," Indiana State Police Trooper Rick Meyers said at the April 7, Methamphetamine Community Awareness program at North Clay Middle School. "Ninety percent of all drug cases in the Midwest are meth related."
The officers from the Indiana State Police taught those in attendance ways for the average citizen to recognize meth labs, how to identify and understand the dangerous toxins involved in producing the drug, what the effects of using methamphetamine are and how and who to call when reporting a drug-related crime.
"Methamphetamine is the scourge of our generation," ISP Trooper Tony Portwood said. "This is the most addictive drug in our country's history."
According to facts distributed by the ISP at the program, 85 percent of first-time users of meth become addicted with only seven percent succeeding in kicking the habit.
"Meth users are the hardest to treat of all drug cases because the drug is designed to consume its victims," Trooper Meyers said.
Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger reported to the crowd that the amount of meth-related cases are an overwhelming burden on law enforcement, the judicial system and local hospitals.
"Wabash Valley hospitals are seeing meth users die within two years of their initial use," Reberger said of the drug's side effects.
Usage of meth destroys the brain cells that control the amount of dopamine released in the body, the pleasure center.
"Once those cells are destroyed they never regenerate," Meyers said. The initial high a meth user experiences is never attained again, creating a hunger for the drug that negates everything else in life. "I've been in meth houses where all the utilities are all shut off because they don't want to spend their money on anything else but the drug."
The ISP Clandestine Lab Team is available for program demonstrations to any group wanting to learn more information about meth and its dangers to the community and the environment.
"We will talk to any group wanting to learn more," Trooper Portwood said. "People need to know all they can learn about this problem."