The Face Of Meth
Channel 8 takes a closer look at a drug that's wreaking havoc on our community: Meth. We talked to experts in the field including undercover agents, medical administrators, dentists, and several recovering Meth addicts to learn more about this growing problem.
Smoking Meth for nine years, Jesse said the drug aged her significantly, "I look like I was a 65 year old woman, and I was 35." She has a history of abuse, child custody issues, and deaths of close family members. Jesse said she smoked Meth to soothe her pain. "Like, just makes you numb your body, after what all I went through I numbed myself," Jesse said.
But her solution didn't last. She said at first "You get a rush, and it's like 'Oh I'm happy all over again.' But when it comes down it's like 'Get away from me. It's like the devil come out of you,'" she said.
An undercover drug agent told us that Meth users are unpredictable. "You're talking to someone that is on it, they could just completely go off and then you're having to fight somebody," he said.
Once Meth users are arrested and taken into custody, the issues continue in jail. At David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center in Tulsa, Health Service Administrator Kathy Loehr said "The ones that are high, typically are very agitated. They can become very violent."
Detention officers like Kendall Dan make rounds on inmates every 30 minutes. Officer Dan said "It gets really sickening back here when they're out here and they're really high and then they start coming down."
Former Meth user Jesse said while the body goes through detox it can purge itself from both ends, sometimes lasting more than a week.
Kathy Loehr said there are serious health issues from doing Meth for a long period of time. Loehr said, "People that are using illicit substances it changes the chemistry makeup in their body." Loehr added that Meth becomes the only thing that helps users feel normal again. After just one hit, it takes two years for the body to recover.
The ingredients used to make the drug include lithium from batteries, Drano, lighter fluid, ephedrine, and red phosphorous from matches.
Dentist Fred Blythe works three days a week at David L. Moss, he said he deals with "Meth mouth." Showing us pictures on the wall of Meth users whose teeth are black from rot or broken off at the gum line. Dr. Blythe said "the chemicals attack the teeth . . . It makes them grit their teeth and so they'll break them loose." Dr. Blythe then has to cut out the roots from the user's gums.
Meth is said to be one of the hardest drugs to quit. For Jesse, jail was her first step to recovery. "I got busted, and I guess God said it's time for you . . . I mean you hit rock bottom. I seen a lot in my life and I wish I never did," Jesse said.
Today she's clean more than five years. Her kids are back in her life, and she's grateful. "I'm happy. I'm blessed, I get to spend time with my grand baby," Jesse said.
Her supporters keep her strong, along with the memory of her mug shot that shows the damage Meth did to her. "It makes me not want to pick up again. Because next time I might be dead and I don't want that to happen for my children. I don't want them to get a phone call saying 'Well, this what happened to your mama.' I don't want that. I want to get the message out what drugs can do to somebody," Jesse said.