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Registered: 07/26/04
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One meth 'cook' teaches 10 new 'cooks' [PA]
    #4708636 - 09/25/05 06:42 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

September 25, 2005 - pennlive.com

It's said that every meth "cook" teaches another 10 users how to make the drug. Most make only enough for themselves and a few friends, making it far more difficult for law enforcement to infiltrate than typical drug hierarchies.

With a telltale, noxious chemical stink, the illicit drug methamphetamine announced its arrival in New Cumberland last week.

Borough Police Chief Oren "Bud" Kauffman was disappointed but far from surprised.

"We know it's coming this way," Kauffman said after Wednesday's arrest of two men accused of trying to make the drug in a borough apartment building. "Had I hoped in my heart of hearts that it wouldn't? Of course."

Law enforcement officials rank meth as the No. 1 drug problem in the country. The addictive stimulant is dangerous to make but provides a euphoric high for hours.

Already a scourge across middle America, its tendrils are snaking with some regularity into the midstate.

It doesn't take long for meth to take hold.

It's said that every meth "cook" teaches another 10 users how to make the drug. Most make only enough for themselves and a few friends, making it far more difficult for law enforcement to infiltrate than typical drug hierarchies.

Virtually everything needed to make the drug can be found at the store, under the kitchen sink or in the garage.

"I can make meth, or a meth cook can make meth, in a 2-foot-by-2-foot space," state police Cpl. Scott Heatley said. "It's scarily simple, which again adds to our problem."

"You don't need a high school degree, you don't need a chemistry degree, you just need somebody to show you how to do it once or twice," state police Sgt. Craig M. Summers said. "It's just one of those whisper-down-the-lanes, 'This is how you do it.' Then it just spreads like wildfire."

"We liken it to dandelions," said Nils Frederiksen of the state attorney general's office. "You can have one or two in the spring, and you turn your back on your yard and it's covered with them.

"Other states will tell you, if you don't think you have a meth problem yet, just wait a little while," he said.

March across the country:

In Pennsylvania, meth is undergoing a sort of homecoming.

There was a time in the 1970s when Philadelphia, with its entrenched biker culture, was known as the meth capital of the United States.

With the rise of crack cocaine and the rebirth of heroin, though, meth -- sometimes called poor man's cocaine, biker's coffee, crank or ice -- fell by the wayside.

But in recent years, fueled by Mexican superlabs producing large quantities of the drug and bolstered by an army of do-it-yourself addicts making meth in their kitchens, bathtubs, even the trunks of their cars, the drug has marched across the country from west to east.

It is still far from a plague in most of Pennsylvania. Local police, prosecutors and human services agencies said its impact remains small when compared to the local drugs of choice -- alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

Last year, for example, Pennsylvania logged only 106 clandestine laboratory incidents, which include not only lab discoveries, but dumpsites and chemical and glassware seizures that can be linked to meth production. By contrast, Missouri logged 2,788 incidents.

"Missouri is an epidemic," Summers said. "We have a problem."

So far this year, the state police Clandestine Laboratory/Weapons of Mass Destruction Response Team has been called out 106 times, though not all the call-outs resulted in a confirmed meth incident, said Summers, the team's eastern section supervisor.

Experts said states infected with meth typically will see a doubling of discovered labs from year to year, much like Pennsylvania's 30 in 2002, 62 in 2003 and 106 last year.

"It's actually slowed down a little bit," Summers said Friday. "We're not doubling this year."

This year, the team has handled two meth-related calls in York County, one each in Cumberland and Lebanon counties, and none in Dauphin and Perry counties.

"We have not seen it become a problem here in Dauphin County," Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr. said. "However, I'm well aware it's a problem. My colleagues in the northwestern part of the state are really fighting it. We expect we'll be seeing more of it in upcoming months."

Hazardous waste:

Local law enforcement agencies said they are lucky in the sense that they can rely upon the expertise and suggestions of their counterparts in states to the west who have years of experience in dealing with meth.

Lawmakers on the state and federal levels continue to push legislation designed to crack down on methamphetamine production and restrict the availability of some of its ingredients, such as the common cold reliever, psuedoephedrine.

One key is to make the public more aware of the signs and symptoms of meth culture, authorities said.

In the Harrisburg area, Summers said, "they don't have that awareness level."

That was Glenys DiLissio's thinking when she arranged two forums earlier this summer to teach firefighters, police and other first responders about meth and its dangers. The volatility of the chemicals used to make meth can lead to explosions, fires and toxic fumes. The leftovers are literally considered hazardous waste.

Though Perry County so far seems spared by meth's grip, DiLissio, the director of Perry Human Services, had heard about the problems in other parts of the state and decided to act now.

"We know it's around," DiLissio said. "Let's not pretend it's not here. Let's not pretend it's not going to happen here. My guess is, it's here. We just haven't seen it yet."

"I don't want our agency to be the 'we coulda woulda shoulda, but didn't,'" she said.

Frederiksen said state agencies will launch a meth awareness campaign across Pennsylvania this fall.

"As the folks in New Cumberland can tell you, it's not impossible for a meth lab to pop up next to your house," he said.

Not going to go away:

For Kauffman, the situation in his borough drove home the pull of methamphetamine, the realization that a substance could drive a user to take huge risks with his own life and the lives of others simply to get high.

"This is how dangerous this substance is, that you would not care about other people in those other apartments, that you knowingly are working with explosive chemicals and toxic chemicals," he said. "What's that say? To me, it says that it's about the drug. Common sense goes right out the window."

Ultimately, authorities said, curbing meth will mean quashing the demand rather than the supply.

"If there's another simple way of manufacturing it, it's not going to go away," Summers said.

Earlier this year, an attorney general's investigation in Bucks County yielded 67 pounds of meth produced by an organized ring tied to the Warlocks outlaw motorcycle gang.

"You won't see a motorcycle gang in Philadelphia producing 67 pounds of meth unless you have a market for 67 pounds of meth," Frederiksen said.

"Where there is a demand, there will be a supply, whether it's meth or crack cocaine," he said. "Society as a whole, we need to work to address demand."

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Re: One meth 'cook' teaches 10 new 'cooks' [PA] [Re: veggie]
    #4716652 - 09/26/05 10:04 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

hell yea i don't know one person who smokes meth in philly

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Re: One meth 'cook' teaches 10 new 'cooks' [PA] [Re: veggie]
    #4716713 - 09/26/05 10:14 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)


With the rise of crack cocaine and the rebirth of heroin, though, meth -- sometimes called poor man's cocaine, biker's coffee, crank or ice -- fell by the wayside.


Never heard that one before. Biker's coffee?

So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.

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