Meth and the Middle Class

Methamphetamine, or “meth” as it’s popularly known as, is a popular drug and a fast growing drug threat in America

Meth addiction first came to light as a problem that affected the vagrant, rural and underprivileged sections of the population in the western parts of the country. Over the last few years it has spread its tentacles and is now a serious problem all over the country. And it is no longer limited to a few specific sections of society. It has now become a middle class drug. That means when we talk of meth addiction as a problem, we are talking about a problem that is beginning to affect the majority of our population.

Meth first made its appearance in Oregon in the early 1980s. It has spread along the west coast and was linked to the I 5 corridor – Interstate 5 runs from Mexico to Oregon. Mexico is where the drug originated. However because of the ease with which it can be manufactured, home meth labs are commonplace. In 2003, a young Orange Country resident was arrested for running a meth lab out of her parents’ mansion without their knowledge. When she was arrested, the young woman had $1 million worth of meth ready for sale.

Campbell is a progressive middle class California community located near Silicon Valley. As early as 1999, the local hospital reported a growing number of cases of meth addicts coming in for treatment. These addicts were between the ages of 18 to 50 plus, and were from all walks of life and even included soccer moms who used the drug to stay slim and keep up with their hectic schedule. The one thing they all had in common was that they belonged to the middle class.

In 2002, a middle class Ohio single mom received a 35 year prison sentence for selling meth. According to the New Jersey Dental Association, the use of meth is growing in the New Jersey area.

Obviously the use of meth has made a steady progress and it is now no longer a problem of just some parts of the country. In addition, it’s no longer a problem limited to any specific demographic – it covers the Great American Middle Class – from school kids to soccer moms to hard working fathers.

The Illinois Attorney General’s report mention earlier provides the following profile of a meth user:

  • He or she is a middle class white person in the 20s and 30s living in either a rural community or in urban centers like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago etc. where meth is rapidly becoming a widely used “club drug.”
  • While most meth users are in their 20s or 30s, more and more cases of meth use are being reported among middle class teenagers as well as those in the 40 plus age bracket.
  • Meth use is now spreading from the middle class to the wealthy and affluent.

Meth addiction is not long something that happens to “other people.” It’s everyone’s problem and needs to be treated as such.