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i am writing in response to the article “The Next Crack Cocaine? No Not Really,” by Ryan Grim (3/31). I don’t know where these facts were obtained, but in my opinion they are mere fiction. This article stating that meth is not a problem and that it is “mildly addictive” is contrary to every legitimate study completed across the country. Perhaps it hasn’t hit your area, and if not, count yourselves blessed. However, in the areas that this drug does hit, as in this area, the Shenandoah Valley, it is steadily draining resources and devastating families. Locally, this drug’s impact has literally depleted our local Department of Social Services’ foster-care resources. There are so few foster-care families left that children removed from homes have to be sent to other areas of the state. Ask any professional within the court system, Department of Social Services, or Community Services Board in Augusta County, Harrisonburg, or Waynesboro. The problem here is not just real, it is visible each and every day.

Roanoke did a drug bust recently that took 50 pounds off the street. That is 50 pounds of a drug called ice—the most potent form of methamphetamine made. Harrisonburg’s RUSH task force was able to get an additional eight pounds of meth off the street the day before. Ask any addict if this stuff is as potent as reported. I talk to addicts almost every day, and they tell me that it hooked them right from the beginning.

Your article is not only incorrect, it is dangerous information for people who are introduced to this drug. If they believe it is as great as the dealers promote, anyone would use it. Euphoria, weight loss, increased self-esteem, increased libido, etc. Unfortunately, these effects become unreachable as the drug damages the dopamine passageways to the brain. It literally destroys the pleasure centers of the brain, so without it the user becomes intensely depressed. Long-term use eventually results in “meth psychosis”—something that is even indistinguishable from paranoid schizophrenia to the trained psychiatrist.

I understand that professionals in the past have had a “sky is falling” mentality and used scare tactics about the dangers of other drugs. But this is the real deal. This drug in its pure form is not only scary, its potential impact in this community is terrifying.

Probation Officer Senior25th District Court Services UnitStaunton, Va.