Monday, November 28, 2011

Parental Guilt

It's a vicious cycle.

As long as I was high I felt no guilt.  Meth makes everything seem better - at first.  I didn't realize how terribly I was neglecting my children.  I didn't realize how traumatizing it was for them to live in domestic hell.  Then I would come down.  Coming down from meth is a terrible, depressing, mentally agonizing experience.  The guilt I would feel after returning, sort of, back to my senses was unbearable.  I would swear "never again" only to know that everything would be better, the depression and guilt would go away once I would use again.

Then I quit, finally, after many many attempts and the guilt began running a new cycle.  Depression fed the guilt, feeling more guilty fed the depression.  I would think "what a horrible mother I was" and the guilt would build and the depression would become unbearable.  Then I would think "I am still stealing time away from them by being so depressed" which would then in turn into another thing to feel guilty about.  Where once my children had reprise from the constantly depressed mother with brief periods of happiness and attention, between violent psychotic episodes and fits of depression, now there was none - just never ending (or so it seemed) bad days.  It wasn't fair to them and I knew it which also led to continuing guilt. 

Eventually, as my mind healed, the depression started to lift.  I finally began to understand that I needed to replace the depression with determination or nothing was going to get better.   Forgiving myself was and is so much harder than forgiving others.  I still haven't forgiven myself and have came to terms that I might never reach that point, but at least I can live with myself now.

Depression and guilt are normal for recovering addicts.  Accept that, but don't get trapped in it.  It will get better.  Our children deserve better and they will get it as long as you don't give up.  Time does heal.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Only ER in three counties shut down after meth contamination

A man contaminated with dangerous chemicals forced the shut down of the only emergency room in three counties Tuesday.

It happened in Hempstead County at the Medical Park Hospital in Hope.

To have an entire emergency room shut down for about seven hours is pretty rare.
But the circumstances surrounding the shut down could be a sign of an alarming trend.
"It's obvious you don't want any kind of chemicals introduced into an environment like that," Sheriff Singleton said. 

A man who'd been dropped off there had first told staff a battery had blown up on him.  But after nearly an hour inside, he fessed up to something else entirely.  "He then told the people there a meth lab had blown up on him," the Sheriff said. 

A haz mat team was called in to decontaminate the ER. When they arrived they discovered their biggest concern: the man had been covered with anhyrdous ammonia, a very dangerous gas. 

"It can make you dizzy, watery eyes, naseau vomiting, things like that," he said.  Some hospital staffers reportedly felt their skin and eyes burning. The chemical can also cause lung damage.  "We hadn't seen anything like that lately," the Sheriff said. 

What's concering, Sheriff Singleton says this could signal a resurgence of this method of cooking meth.
Anhydrous ammonia found in some fertilizers and refrigerants was commonly used in the '90's, for what was called the "Nazi" method of making meth.

Then producers started switching to psuedoephedrine, which is cheaper and far less dangerous.
Risks of explosion and exposure to the general public are much higher with anhydrous ammonia.
"We need to find this lab," said Sheriff Singleton. 

Addressing this bigger problem will come later. Because of the man's injuries, the sheriff says they haven't interviewed him. The meth lab that exploded could be nearly anywhere. First, they must find it.
"That's our main concern right now is the safety of the citizens, to locate where this lab was, this cook was, once we get that done, we'll follow through with the investigation," the Sheriff said. 

Other law enforcement agencies say they believe anhdryous ammonia may be making a comeback amoung meth makers, perhaps because of the crack down on the sale of pseudoephedrine. Most though say it's too soon to say.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wyoming Adventure

This is a little different than the regular stuff I write, but I wanted to share.

David was invited to spend a week in Cody, WY to share his testimony and meth prevention program with several different groups in the area.  A couple of our dear friends said that it would be wonderful if we could make it a family trip and of course we agreed.  We got permission to take our children out of school for an educational trip and started planning.

We departed on Friday, Sept. 16th after school, running a couple hours later than we planned with a 24 hour drive in front of us.  Amy's law of preparedness states that she should always allow twice as much time to get ready than what she has planned and it held true this time as well. :) We left the driveway at 7:00 instead of 4:00.

All eight of us were traveling in our old Suburban.  Now, you think a suburban is a large accommodating  vehicle, and it is - to a point.  Don't get me wrong, I love my suburban and we are blessed to have it, but that point ends somewhere around 500 miles or 8 hours after your departure. 

David woke me up about 4:00am on Saturday morning telling me the car was breaking down near Kansas City, MO.  Amazingly everyone stayed calm.  We thought it was the fuel filter and made it to a city, St. Joseph, about 60 miles North of Kansas City.  There we slept in the AutoZone parking lot until they opened.  David changed the fuel filter in the parking lot.  I had underestimated the value of a smart phone until then.  Thankfully, a friend of our sons, Logan, who had gotten permission to take the trip with us, had a Droid.  Thanks to Logan and his Droid we had directions straight from the interstate to AutoZone.

Earlier we had seen a sign that the interstate on our route that would have taken us through Iowa and Nebraska was closed.  The clerk at AutoZone informed us that our best bet would be to back track to Kansas City and go through Denver instead.  The Denver route was longer to begin with excluding the back tracking.  That was okay, though, because the drive would be beautiful.

So, we go back to Kansas City.  Somewhere between Kansas City and Topeka we have a flat tire.  David changes the flat and we head to topeka to get the tire fixed.  Again, it could have been much worse.  Topeka is a town that David has ministered in a couple of different times and knew right where the tire shops were.  Even on a Saturday, Big O Tires had our tire fixed within the hour.

By this time, we are sure the devil is trying his best to throw a wrench in our plans and prevent David from sharing his testimony in church on Sunday morning.  Yet again, no one is fighting, no one is anxious.  I knew we would make it on time.  God is always victorious and I felt it was His will that we make it.  He would not bring us that far for nothing and cover us with the amazing peace I felt.

We pull out of Topeka about 12:00pm.  We had planned on being in Cody by 8:00pm and we weren't even close.  At least the car was running well and everyone was happy and fed at this point.

Several hundred miles down the road the car starts cutting out again.  We had to pull over periodically and let it take a break.  Pulling up hills was really bad and if you have ever been to Wyoming you would know that it is just hill after hill, almost constantly climbing to a higher elevation.

Finally, at 8:00am on Sunday morning we arrive in Cody.  We arrived with exactly enough time to unload the car, and for David to take a shower to make it to church without a moment to spare. 

It took us 38 hours to make a 24 hour drive, but we made it.  God was faithful as always.  We made it with the car trouble. We made it on time.  We made it in good humor.  As if that all wasn't amazing enough - we made it without the kids fighting, even once, during the entire 38 hour car trip.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kayden Branham

Kayden Branham was 20-months-old when he died after drinking drain cleaner left sitting in a coffee cup on a table.  The drain cleaner had been used to manufacture methamphetamine by his 14-year-old mother, 19-year-old father, uncle, and three other meth addicts.  The trailer where the meth was being made was owned by his grandfather, Larry Branham, (14-year-old Alisha's father) who claims he was not at the residence at the time and had no knowledge that meth was being made.

Records show that Alisha was 12 when she got pregnant and was placed in foster care.  She was 13 when she gave birth.  Her and her son, Kayden, were returned to the custody of Alisha's mother, Melissa on the condition that Melissa pass required drug tests, provide a safe home for both children, and make sure Alisha was supervised and attended school regularly.  None of the provisions were met yet both children remained in Melissa's custody.  Melissa refused to take drug tests on approximately a dozen occasions.  The tests she did take proved inconclusive or she outright failed for prescription drugs she did not have a prescription for.  Social workers were sent to the home at one point after Alisha missed 31 days of school.  Alisha stated her mother had been staying with her boyfriend and she had no one to watch Kayden.  Alisha also told social workers, according to records, that there was no food because her mother was trading food stamps for drugs.  At the time of Kayden's death Alisha had been staying with her boyfriend and uncle in a trailer that had meth manufactured on several other occasions.  Alisha's mothers home did not have running water or electricity.

Some interviews say that Kayden, Alisha, and Brian (Kayden's 19-yr-old father) were not at home while the meth was actually being manufactured.  Records that were released by the Kentucky Cabinet for Children and Family Services have Alisha stating that although they (Kayden's parents) knew that meth was being manufactured they didn't keep Kayden at home during those instances and always opened the windows and cleaned with Pledge because they knew a baby shouldn't be around that.

The night Kayden died he picked up a coffee cup on a table filled with drain cleaner and drank it.  Alisha heard him gagging and knew what had happened.  Instead of calling 911, the story is she ran across the road and got her father.  He also did not call 911, instead driving the family to the hospital.  I would not have waited for an ambulance either, but I think most normal people would have had someone call 911 and told them what was happening so an ambulance could meet in transit or medical staff could be ready. 

Kayden lived for about an hour after drinking the drain cleaner.  His throat was too badly burned to be saved.  He also had burns around his mouth and on his chest.

Alisha was hysterical.  She sucked her thumb, beat her head on a wall, and cried her "mommy".  She also talked incoherently about her baby.  She also stated that the pills her father had given her while her son was dying weren't working to calm her down.  When questioned her father said he "forgot" to mention that.  She also showed interviewers track marks on her arm and said her uncle had been injecting her with meth because she couldn't do it herself.

Alisha's case was settled in juvenile court so the outcome is not known.  The others involved go to trial in September.  As far as I know, no legal charges were pressed against Alisha's mother.

So much is known about this train wreck of a case because two major KY newspapers sued to get records released.  More records are being withheld and the cabinet passed emergency measures to stop any further information from being released.  To date, the newspapers are still fighting for the release of the information and the cabinet has been required to repay some of the newspapers legal fees.  I hope the newspapers never give up the fight.  These children were failed - one died a horrific death and another will live with the trauma forever -  and it needs to be found out how and why so that it never happens again.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Candice Alexander

I hope that's it pretty obvious where both mine and David's passion lay when it comes to fighting methamphetamine - advocating for the children who are the innocent and most helpless victims of any addiction.  I've decided to share real life stories of lives destroyed by methamphetamine.  I thought it was only fitting to speak first for those who cannot speak for themselves.  The next few posts will be dedicated to children who have lost their lives because of their parents addictions.  

Candice Alexander was 15 years old when she was murdered by her parents.  Her death was preventable.  School officials and social workers knew she was in danger.  Other addicts were actually in the home when she was being beaten to death.  Some testified at trial of the immense guilt they felt for doing nothing for fear of angering their drug connection.
We first heard of Candice's story when someone sent us a powerpoint containing her autopsy photos.  It was shocking to see a beautiful young girl, filthy and beaten, laying on a morgue table.  Several things stood out to me - how underdeveloped she was (she looked more like she was 11 or 12 because of her drug use and malnourishment I'm sure), her defensive wounds (this little girl fought hard for her life), and the obvious signs of a beating (her death was initally ruled as an accidental overdose until a caring and diligent Sergeant with the state police stepped in).  We then began researching her story and the details were so disturbing we thought it was only fitting that she not die in vain.  David tells her story whenever he speaks.  The Sergeant that was responsible for investigating her death has encouraged us to to keep doing so.

Instead of retyping her story I have copied a section from our book.  I hope those that hear her story remember it and realize this could be any child, any where that needs help.

Candice Alexander was first given methamphetamine when she was just twelve years old. That’s also probably when the sexual abuse began. Candice reported the abuse to her school, but instead of calling social services, they called her mother, Rebecca Lee, who in turn removed her from school.
            Candice was not the first child to be abused by her mother. Her older brother, Cody, was taken from his mother as an infant by child protective services in 1986. A bone scan at a local hospital revealed fractures to the right ulna and radius, the tibia and femur of both legs, and multiple rib fractures in varying stages of healing. He was also blind. Nearly six months old, Cody weighed only nine pounds.
            While Cody was in foster care, his mother gave birth to two more children, Amanda and Candice. Amanda was the first of the two to be molested by her stepfather. When Rebecca caught the couple in a sex act when Amanda was fourteen, the girl was kicked out of the house and forced to live with older meth addicts. The parents then moved on to Candice.
            Rebecca knew her husband was sexually attracted to her daughter, but didn’t mind if he molested Candice as long as she was also present. But one day, Johnny took Candice fishing without inviting her mother. When Rebecca found out they’d had sex on the trip, she went berserk.
            For the next ten days, Candice was violently beaten. Then on May 9, 2003, the 90-pound teenager was forcibly injected with enough methamphetamine to kill four 150-pound men. She had a wound on her arm where the drugs were injected and finger-shaped marks near the injection site that were consistent with her arm being forcibly held. Her mother and stepfather also injected her with saline to try to revive her, but it was too late. Candice, at fifteen, was dead.
            The killers waited more than three hours to contact law enforcement. By the time they arrived, the meth lab had been disassembled and the bathroom scrubbed with the water hose that had been brought in from outside. The crime scene had also been cleaned.
            In the autopsy, Candice’s battered body revealed what had occurred during her nightmare. She had fingernail marks on her face from being held down. There were marks extending the length of her right arm from being struck multiple times with a hard, round, elongated object. There was a large abrasion on her nose and blood in her right nostril indicative of being struck in the face.
            Candice’s hands and chest were covered with motor oil and dirt that had come from the transmission of a truck; at some point during the savage beating she had run out of the house and sought refuge under the vehicle. There were bright red abrasions on her hips that had occurred when she was pulled away from the car by the back of her belt. There was also a prominent linear bruise on the midline of her abdomen, an imprint of the inseam of her pants, and fingernail marks and grass in her pubic area.
            In 2005, Rebecca and Johnny Lee were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Candice’s younger sister, who was thirteen at the time of her death, spent time in a psychiatric hospital while her mother was on trial. She had witnessed part of her sister’s murder and was forced to participate in the cleanup.
            Tragically, the cycle of abuse continues. On September 5, 2008, Benjamin Terrance Rawls, the biological son of Rebecca Lee, was indicted for abandoning and endangering his ten-week-old son after he allegedly shook the infant. He was also accused of endangering his eighteen-month-old son by leaving him alone in the house with drugs, weapons, and a pit bull.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What's a Normal Childhood?

A couple of days ago I ran into a woman who had just read our book "Facing the Dragon - How a Desperate Act Pulled One Addict Out of Methamphetamine Hell".  She is a teacher and said the book made her want to go back to school and give every one of her students a hug because it really made her think about how she never really knows what it going on in some of her students homes.  She had went to school with David's sisters and said she never realized what her friends were going through.  She, our friend, had led a sheltered life (thankfully) and just assumed until she was older that everyone else lived a life just like her own.  It was normal to her and she never knew of any other way to live.

It's the same for kids living in a drug home.  It's normal for parents to be neglectful and abusive.  It's normal to have secrets they can't talk about for fear of punishment, being taken away, or parent's going to jail.  The chaos and violence are normal.  The fear and uncertainty are normal.  By the time kids are old enough to figure out that everyone doesn't live like that many times it is too late - they are already on their way to continuing the cycle of addition and their parent's destructive behaviors.

In the book David talks about growing up in a alcohol fueled violent home then following in his father's footsteps and becoming and alcoholic and drug addict.  For years, David considered his father's drug use the catalyst of his behavior, but didn't put much thought into the abuse he lived through on his mother's side of the family, with whom he spent his early childhood years.  Hiding in cornfields with his mother, grandmother, and sisters while his grandfather shot holes in the hose had a profound effect on his development.  That coupled with the lack of affection and physical abuse from his mother really affected his own behavior even without adding addictive substances to the mix.  However, this lifestyle was normal to him because it was all he knew.

Too many children are living in similar situations today.  To have a chance at a safe and secure life they need someone to intervene on their behalf.  They need someone to save them.  They need someone to show them they care.  Sometimes, a simple phone call can not only save a child's life but also save their future.  Without intervention there is no way to show a drug endangered child what normal really is.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This is what meth does.

This is one of the saddest videos I have seen in a while.  I hope they ended up taking her to the hospital.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Former meth addict aims at inspiring courage to help abused children

Speaking in Buffalo, David Parnell asked for courage to "make the call" and prevent child abuse by parents addicted to meth.
By Ed DuBois
      The graphic photos displayed during David Parnell's presentation in Buffalo last Friday evening, March 18 were meant to inspire courage.
      After seeing some of the terrible consequences of making and using meth, maybe several people in the audience will be so appalled, they will have the courage to call the authorities if they ever suspect a meth lab is being operated in the neighborhood.  If they see children suffering from abuse or neglect, maybe they will act.
      The suffering of children is most upsetting for Parnell.  In fact, he paused and was chocked up with emotion when talking about two specific children who died as a result of abuse related to meth addiction.
      He said he conducts hundreds of speeches, and he can usually avoid getting hit with emotion by keeping his mind on his goal, to inspire action.
      But last Friday, the deaths of two children were too much for him.  Sadness overcame him for a minute or two.
      "If someone had made a call, these children would be alive today," he said.
      One of the children was heard screaming, but no one called.  One was locked in a closet and starved to death.
      Parnell knows what meth can do.  He began using it with his father.  He thought he could control it, but it eventually controlled him.
      At his lowest point, he thought his family would be better off without him.  He took a gun and shot off half his face.  He said he felt the pain because the meth kept him awake.
      He nearly died, but he survived his suicide attempt.  He underwent 30 surgeries, and more are planned.  His face is still disfigured, but it looks much better than it did after getting out of the hospital.  He said he will never get the sight back in his right eye.  A year passed before anyone could understand him when he spoke.
      "The way I look might convince people not to use meth," he stated.
      "I am so embarrassed and ashamed of the way I treated my wife and others," he added.
      He pleads with people to get help if they are addicted and are struggling with temper.
      Parnell added, "Suicide is not the solution.  You never know what God has planned for you."
      God's plan for Parnell was laid out on the stage last Friday.
      Wright County MEADA (Meth Education and Drug Awareness) invited Parnell to speak in the Buffalo High School Performing Arts Center.  He recently co-authored his autobiography, "Facing the Dragon," with local author, Amy Hammond Hagberg.  He had his book available for sale at the event.
      He also spoke to students at the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Schools on Friday morning and conducted a presentation in the afternoon at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park.
      A former meth dealer, husband, father of seven, and suicide survivor from Tennessee, Parnell now devotes his life traveling to high schools and communities warning about the dangers of methamphetamine.
      Parnell told his story in Buffalo once before in March 2005 as a guest of MEADA.  He began his presentation last Friday by talking about the dangerous chemicals used to make meth, such as anhydrous ammonia.
      He said meth slowly eats you up.  It's a poison.  Users' teeth often rot because of it.
      Parnell managed to avoid severe tooth decay because he became obsessed with brushing his teeth.  He brushed seven to nine times a day, he said.
      The body can't metabolize the meth chemicals, and they come out through the skin, he also said.
      In Tennessee, which is number-one in meth labs, child abuse has gone up 500 percent in 15 years, he said.
      "Innocent people around us suffer," he commented.
      In one case, an addicted parent thought it was more important to make meth than to pick up his child from a bleach spill.
      If you step in and "make the call" to help prevent child abuse, the meth addict will eventually thank you, Parnell stated.
      He told of a baby born addicted to meth.
      "I hope to see little Bobby in the next life," he said about the baby, and then he paused as he was overcome with sadness.
      He told of a school system in New Mexico that has started a program to help feed children in families affected by meth addiction.  Food is hidden in children's backpacks so they can feed their little brothers and sisters at home.
      Drug task force members who raid meth houses are called "Angels in Black" by Parnell.
      "I wish they had busted my dad.  He would be alive today," Parnell commented.  "He could not stop."
      He feels shame about his own addiction and not being there for his kids.
      "They remember Mom and Dad always fighting," he said.
      He once threatened to kill her, and she called the police.  But he went back to using later.
      He once tried to hang himself.  He said meth is a stimulant ... "until depression sets in."
      His sister found him after his unsuccessful hanging attempt.  The rope had snapped.
      "God saved my life that day," he said.
      Parnell learned that meth robs a person of the ability to feel love and compassion from others.
      Getting off meth is difficult, but he is so thankful he is off it now.
      The body will heal itself, but it takes time, he said.
      "Hang on until you get over the hump.  You will feel better than you ever felt in your life," he tells addicts.
      Now that Parnell is back with his family, he says, "God has given me back more than I will ever deserve."
      After his presentation, a few questions were taken from the audience.  Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly said he has seen improvement regarding meth over the past few years.  Parnell said the problem has grown worse in Tennessee.
      He added that Minnesota has more programs addressing meth than any other state.
      "You guys work together and get after it and educate people about meth," he said.  "You don't see that in other states."
      You can learn more by contacting MEADA at 763-682-7713 or go to .  To learn more about Parnell, go to his website, .  He invites you to visit Amy Hammond Hagberg's website as well,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Meth Addiction - From a Loved One's Point of View

The following was written by one of our friends.  It was an editorial she sent in to her local paper. She was asked by the newspaper if it was real.  This is the most accurate description of how it feels to care about someone on meth I have ever heard.

Paranoia, anger, edginess, agitation, love, hate, nauseous, pain, resentment, shame, guilt, horror. Just a handful of words used to define the up and down emotional roller coaster you ride when a loved one is addicted to meth. Each day passes you by while you feel you’re simply in existence--of a living nightmare!

Your mask, which you wear so well in life—starts to crumble. You’re faced with the cold, harsh reality—they might not make it. You hold onto hope, but you know the reality of the statistics. You stand by their side, until; you get to the point of—are you willing to go down with them too? Let them hit “rock bottom” your told. What will “rock bottom” be—death, permanent brain damage, prison? You think-- the latter, of course, would keep them alive.

Before they perhaps were “the criminal”, they were “the meth addict”, before either of the two—they were, and still are, a human being, your brother, your sister, your parent, maybe your child. To just sit back and watch them slowly commit suicide is horrid—to be caught up in the “meth drama” makes you feel like your losing your mind. Sometimes, you think—a funeral would be so much easier—it would be done—it would be over. The pain might linger, but the chaos would stop. What an appalling thought to have.

You don’t know who to turn to—you’re afraid of “saying the wrong thing”. You hear, “they are an adult, they have to choose treatment”. You think to yourself, “Are you kidding me? How many meth addicts are capable of even making that choice?”
Finally, through never-ending tears, sleepless nights, a gnawing in your stomach like you wouldn’t believe—you’ve had enough. You don’t have a choice but to walk away—you have yourself, your kids to think about—you ban this person from your home—you spend a gorgeous sunny day—fighting off tears—writing this letter—trying to cope with the words/feelings above along with new one’s that have just entered into your world. I HATE meth!

Laurie B

Angels in Black - two different poems

A big part of David's program is dedicated to the prevention of drug related child abuse.  These child victims are known as drug endangered children.  When David gets to that section of his program he has a picture of a child in the arms of a law enforcement officer with the title "Angels in Black".  The title was taken from a poem written by Ron Mullins, training coordinator for National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children and former state trooper.  The following is Ron's orginal poem and then a re-write with the same title by Jose Oceans, a 14-yr.-old high school student, who attended one of David's presentations. 

The Angels in Black 

I sit alone in my room but I no longer cry
It doesn’t seem to matter much to mom and dad who only care about getting high

I don’t go to school much these days, I’m sick and it’s hard for me to breathe
No one cares about the things I really need

Dad cooks things in my house but it’s not for us to eat
It burns my lungs and my skin and makes it hard for me to see

Why does no one hear me? Why does no one care?
My mom and dad don’t love me back, and I don’t think that’s fair

Then one night I hear the sounds as the door comes crashing down
Mom and dad rush to hide the things I know they don’t want found

My mom and dad are on the floor, their hands behind their back
The men all have guns and helmets, and they are all dressed in black

They move from room to room as they continue to yell Police!
I am very frightened as I fall upon my knees

Then one of them looks down at me and he can tell I’m a child in need
He puts the gun away as he reaches down to me

He picks me up from the floor that has become my bed
The hand that held the gun, now gently holds my head

I can only see his eyes but they look so very sad
I wonder if he has a BOY like me, I wish he were MY dad

He rushes me from my house to an ambulance on the street
His eyes fill up with tears as he lays me on the seat

I now have good clothes to wear and good food to eat
I can breath good again and it’s not hard for me to see

I know now there is a God because when I prayed he sent an answer back
For the men who came to rescue me are really
The Angels In Black!
Ronald V. Mullins, National DEC Training Coordinator, San Diego , Ca.

The Angels in Black by Jose Oceans

Let’s hear it for our angels, now
Not the ones dressed in white
But the ones that, to fight earthly battles, vow
The ones that in the shadows choose to fight

Let’s hear it for those faces
The ones that come into our lives
And just the same are gone without leaving any traces
All without us even seeing their eyes

Let’s hear it for those arms
That over us they tower
And, fire, danger and gunshots, these things never alarm
When it is time, when it is the fighting hour

Let’s hear it for those hands
That hold the shields
Protecting us from the unforgiving people of the lands
The angels of judgment that guns, instead of swords they wield

Let’s hear it for their strength and courage
That face the flaming timbers of your beloved memories
Those who take a shot whilst the world’s an outrage
And they, who riots strung up, they appease

Let’s hear it for their wings that cradle you from the dangers
Of guns, or flames that cannot reach you
A friend you hold amidst the strangers
They will save you, which you know is true

Let’s hear it for our angels’ shadows
That in darkness they do shine
That are there to stand up to your foes
That in the deepest of darks, you they will always find

            By Jose Oceans

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Silent Victims by Jose Oceans

This poem was written by a student after viewing David's presentation.  This young poet is incredibly gifted.

The Silent Victims

They stand weak, if they have enough strength to stand
And from their hiding place they cry in silence
Too afraid to speak out or show their pain
Their little minds, hearts, hands and shoulders all grow tense

They pray for forgiveness
Not knowing what they’ve done
Hoping to be delivered from the bad in their lives
Wanting to be saved from this hell, before they’re gone

A poison that fills up their lungs
Leaving them for dead
Their final cure, they hope
That this is the very end

But wake and open your eyes small one
You have not done a thing
The fault of this is not your own
Dry your tears and stop your crying

Be strong and live!
Stop praying for forgiveness
You have not come to sin
But are innocent and faultless

Breathe in hope and see that faith
You are not abandoned, left to be alone
We are here just, grab our hand
Listen to the sincerity in our voice’s tone

A devil, a demon has possessed the lives of those around
A snake with forked tongues slithers through your house
And laid to waste, that snake will die!
You story courage, it will arouse

You may not know me
But I still love you
Your life is precious
And don’t listen to those that say it’s not true

For those who have ears that hide a secret
Speak, speak again and utter what your eyes have seen
Don’t hold your breath or bite your lips
Don’t let the horror that is caused remain in vain

Those with strength protect the weaker
Don’t let them die without a battle
Though too small to hold thy sword
Lift your gavel, justify, punish hard, let the walls of court all rattle

Out of fear of a greater hell
They hold tight their lips, and hide away in their limbs
The cry and pray in silence
Because they are the Silent Victims

By Jose Oceans

Monday, February 21, 2011

Johna Osborn - Burned in Parents Meth Lab

Johna Osborn was 14 months old in August 2009 when she was burned over 40% of her body in a fire caused by her parent's meth lab.

Johna was playing her her playpen while her infant brother lay in a baby swing.  Nearby her father was attempting to manufacture methamphetamine when the process caused an explosion.  Johna was trapped in her playpen when it erupted in flames.  She was burnt over 40% of her body before her father flipped her out of the playpen.  Her brother was not injured.

Her father, John Osborn, states he instructed her mother to call 911.  He then ran away leaving his critically injured daughter because he said he feared arrest.  He was later arrested when seeking treatment for his own burns.

Johna's mother, Tessa Wagy, lied and told medical workers that Johna was burnt in a grease fire.  It was only after the baby's burns did not respond to the proper treatment and some had deteriorated from 2nd to 3rd degree did doctors discover the true nature of her injuries.

I can not imagine any parent letting their child suffer in such a way while not opening their mouths so their child could be treated properly.  However, it has happened more than once.  In TN a child swallowed chemicals and her parents listened to her screams for an hour and kept telling doctors they "didn't know" what she had gotten into.  In another case a 6 month old baby was found with 3rd degree chemical burns  - his grandmother feared the discovery of her meth lab so she did not take him to the doctor.

Johna, now over a year later, is receiving speech and physical therapy for her injuries.  Her grandmother, who has custody now, said doctors are worried she may not have full use of her arm.

To make matters worse in this situation Johna was not even supposed to be with her parents.  Her aunt,  Wendy Adkison, was her appointed guardian.   According to the rules set forth in the guardianship agreement the aunt was supposed to contact the department of family services if either parent even tried to contact Johna.  Instead, she gave Johna to them.

John Osborn was sentenced to 60 years in prison.  He denied ever attempting to manufacture meth.

Tessa Wagy was sentenced to 50 years.  She admitted to buying the pseudoephedrine.

Wendy Adkison received supervised probation.  No jail time.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Baby found with 2nd-3rd degree burns in mom's, grandma's meth lab

Hoke County, NC – It’s always nice to get your children into the family business at an early age but maybe a legal business would be a better idea!
23 year old Ashley Milligain of Summerville, SC went to North Carolina on Monday to get her 4 month old baby boy but ended up being arrested and charged with felony child abuse, manufacture of methamphetamine and felony obstruction of justice. During a raid on Thursday, police found the baby with second and third degree burns caused by chemicals. The child had not been taken for medical treatment probably for fear of alerting the authorities of their meth lab.
6 other people were arrested on Thursday including the boy’s paternal grandmother, Michelle Lynn Tiller, 42. She was also charged with child abuse.
Sheriff Peterkin says Milligan had a hand in running the operation.
"We found that she was not only there doing some of the cooking, she was involved in the cooking and dealing with the some of the cooking, she was very much aware of the surroundings she was leaving the child in when she brought and left the child here," he said.
The child is being treated at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Hospital officials aren't releasing the child's condition, but the sheriff says the little boy is doing okay despite developing some medical complications believed to be caused by his exposure to toxic fumes.
Bond was set for Milligan Monday at $125,000.


This 4 month old baby was left suffering with severe burns by his own grandmother to avoid exposing her illegal activity.  I can't even imagine the pain this child was in.  Another story said it was the baby's screams that led authorities to his discovery.  Sick.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Criminal Analyst in Elkhart Co. Will Focus Just On Meth

GOSHEN — Methamphetamine pushers in Elkhart County should now have a new reason to worry with the announcement that a dedicated criminal analyst will soon be hired by the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office.

The announcement was made during a meeting of the Elkhart County Council Saturday, where Ed Windbigler, new chief investigator with the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office, informed the board that his office has received a hefty $250,000 Total Cops Methamphetamine Grant.

Windbigler recently took over as chief investigator for the prosecutor’s office after spending nearly 24 years with the Elkhart Police Department. He is replacing Bill Wargo, who has retired after 33 years in law enforcement.

During his presentation, Windbigler indicated that the grant will allow his office to hire a new Criminal Intelligence Analyst, whose sole job will be to compile and analyze data from agencies throughout Elkhart County. Such data will then be used to predict which areas pose the highest risk for methamphetamine-related crimes, as well as where such activity is most likely to spread.

According to INTERPOL, the world’s largest international police organization, the central task of a criminal intelligence analyst is to help officials — law enforcers, policy makers, and decision makers — deal more effectively with uncertainty, to provide timely warning of threats, and to support operational activity by analyzing crime.

“This is something that I think we need to do to make law enforcement better in Elkhart County,” said Windbigler.

With receipt of the grant, the prosecutor’s office will be able to fully fund the new analyst position through 2012 with the chance to extend the position further if funding allows.

Such funding will include everything necessary for the job, including salary, training, technology, software and travel.

Councilman David Foutz, a teacher and economist with a flare for numbers, was particularly excited about the potential for the new position.

“I’m a numbers guy,” Foutz said, “so I think this is just great.”

Windbigler said that with the grant now secured, his office has already begun the process of interviewing potential applicants for the position.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Letter to Lawmakers re: Pseudoephedrine Becoming Prescription Only

This is a letter I drafted to send to my state representative concerning passing a law that would return pseudoephedrine to prescription only status:

I learned a few days ago that a bill has been introduced to make pseudoephedrine available only with a prescription.  Which, in fact, would only be returning pseudoephedrine to prescription only status as it was until 1976.   I wanted to let you know that my husband, David, and myself support this measure 100%.  There has been much discussion about this in other states and many myths being spread.  I’d like to address some of these.

Myth 1 – Meth cooks will find another chemical in place of pseudoephedrine to manufacture meth.
Fact - There are only two chemicals that meth can not be made without - pseudoephedrine (PSE) and phenyl-2-propanone (commonly called P2P).   P2P has already been banned in the United States, but is still used in Mexico. The small labs that are in hotels, houses, and children's bedrooms use PSE. There is no other ingredient required to manufacture methamphetamine readily available in the United States except PSE.  All the other ingredients like anhydrous and drain cleaner are used in the manufacturing process and aren’t really ingredients.  There are substitutes for those chemicals.

Myth 2 – Online tracking systems are effective and help law enforcement arrest meth cooks.
Fact - Tracking laws are not working. KY and OK have the meth check program and they have also been hit with record years for labs.  I understand the view from some law enforcement, but in my opinion, they are working toward the wrong goal.  The goal should not be to track and watch purchases, than arrest as many people as possible, using as much manpower and tax dollars possible while filling up jails. The goal should be to eliminate labs in the first place. Besides, by the time they track, watch, and arrest a meth cook, that cook has already taught an average of ten other people how to manufacture methamphetamine, children have been poisoned or killed, and homes have been contaminated.

Some opponents of this measure state that the tracking system works because there is evidence of some blocked transactions.   What they neglect to mention is that much of the PSE used in the manufacture of meth is obtained through "smurfing".  Most people know when they have reached their limit and simply recruit someone else to make the purchase for them.

Myth 3 - There is no proof that passing this law would have any effect on the number of labs.
Fact - Oregon's meth labs numbered in the hundreds before they made it prescription only. Last year they had about 10 labs. Mississippi’s labs dropped by 65% after enacting the law.  The Rx only law works. 

Myth 4 – Making PSE prescription only will raise the cost of the medication.
Fact – Not true.  I have checked this myself by calling pharmacies in Oregon.

Myth 5 – Law abiding citizens will have to pay for a doctor’s visit and miss work every time they have a cold and be out hundreds of dollars.
Fact – While we will have to pay to see a doctor once, refills can be given or called in at the doctor’s discretion.

Another argument against passing this is that it won’t do anything to cut down on drug use.  I am not sure about that.  Drug users may begin importing more meth or switch to another drug.  Passing this law is not about that though.  It is about keeping another child from ingesting or being burnt by meth making chemicals, or dying in a fire/explosion caused by manufacturing meth, or being made sick by being exposed to those chemicals.

I am a sinus sufferer without insurance.  I know it will be a slight inconvenience.   However, I believe that little bit of inconvenience to me is worth saving the life of a child.  

I’d like to urge you to vote “Yes” on this measure when the opportunity arises.


Amy Parnell

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cold Medicine Group, Law Enforcement Differ Over Meth War

Manufacturers of pseudoephedrine, a popular decongestant that is also a key ingredient for making methamphetamine, are offering to pay for real-time electronic tracking of purchases so Tennessee won't start requiring prescriptions.Dueling bills are likely in the General Assembly as law enforcement officers push for a prescription requirement while the Consumer Healthcare Products Association pitches its tracking system.
"What we are asking legislators to do is just consider a balance because there's really an appropriate point for allowing legitimate access for consumers," said Mandy N. Hagan, director of state government relations for the association. "The vast majority of these sales are clearly not being used to make meth."
But state law officials say the association's plan won't work because meth makers have devised a method for getting around tracking systems, including one the state already has.
Tennessee last year surpassed its previous record for meth lab seizures, set in 2004. Seizures totaled 2,082 — a 45 percent rise from 2009 and 33.5 percent higher than the old record.
Although the southeast corner of the state is the hot spot for meth labs, there has been an uptick in Middle Tennessee. The most dramatic increase was in Sumner County, which had 13 seizures compared with one in 2009. Seizures were also up in Davidson, Wilson and Robertson counties.
The prior record for seizures was set before Tennessee enacted a 2005 law that required purchasers to present identification and mandated pharmacies to keep logs for an electronic reporting system. Lab incidents plunged after its enactment.
But meth makers began "smurfing" around the law by recruiting people to buy pseudoephedrine at multiple locations, including neighboring states. This backdoor supply system and an easier method for making meth have caused the number of labs to surge. Meth can now be made in 2-liter soda bottles with the "shake-and-bake" system.

Officer supports law

Last year, Mississippi started requiring prescriptions. (Oregon is the only other state to do so.) Tommy Farmer, director of the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force, thinks it's a good idea. In the six months after the Mississippi law took effect July 1, lab seizures fell 76 percent.
“On top of that, we border Mississippi,” Farmer said. “I’ve got other ways of looking at and verifying their data. I’m seeing a significant increase in Tennessee of suspicious pseudoephedrine sales by citizens from Mississippi. It’s an over 200 percent increase in the last six months.”
Tennessee law now requires people to present identification to buy pseudoephedrine and sets a limit on how much they can buy within a 30-day window. The drug can be purchased only at pharmacies, which must keep it behind the counter or under lock and key. Pharmacies must keep logs of all sales to customers, which are entered into an integrated network. Some provide the data on a real-time basis, but not all.
Twelve states participate in the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), the tracking system sponsored by the Consumer Healthcare Product Association. They include border states Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky and Arkansas.
Kentucky blocks about 10,000 grams (22 pounds) of pseudoephedrine sales a month using NPLEx. Federal law forbids anyone from buying more than 9 grams a month.
NPLEx allows pharmacies to immediately recognize suspicious buyers and report them to authorities, the association's Hagan said. It is also an integrated system across state lines.
“The current system doesn’t do that,” Hagan said.
A prescription requirement would cause hardships for cold and allergy sufferers and result in about $1 million in lost sales tax revenue, Hagan said. Prescription drugs aren't subject to a sales tax.
Is it really any wonder that pharmaceutical companies do not want this medication made into a prescription?  Why would they want this being made into prescription only when 77%-94% of their sales are coming from meth cooks?  No business wants to lose that much revenue.  There should be an exception when it comes to saving lives though.

The vast majority of PSE sales are not legitimate as stated in this story. In Indiana, they have estimated only 6% are legit. In KY they have estimated that only 23% of purchases are legitimate. The cold medicine group can say that most sales are legit all they want, but anyone that goes into a store and tries to buy a product containing PSE can see different. The shelves are usually sold out of the PSE products, yet NyQuil and other products are always stocked. Why would that be if the "vast majority" was being bought be cold sufferers? Wouldn't both medications be sold out? Way before they started putting PSE behind the counter stores had started having the isles watched by security cameras or the medication moved to within site of the cash register because so many people were stealing it.  Why would they want this being made into prescription only when 77%-94% of their sales are coming from meth cooks?  No business wants to lose that much revenue.

Also, tracking systems do not work. KY has the tracking system and they had a record number of busts last year. Mandatory long term sentences for meth manufactures should be implemented, but that doesn't work either. Every meth cook teaches 10 more people how to cook every year. It's just a cycle. The goal should not be to track and watch to make arrests to lock up as many people as possible for as long as possible using the most manpower possible. The goal should be to eliminate labs period. PSE is the one and only ingredient meth can not be made without.

Finally, and most importantly, there are children burning to death or being severely poisoned by the toxic fumes. One girl, here in TN, had to have plastic chiseled off of her before they could even start treating after her parents lab caught on fire. Other children have died by drinking drain cleaner and other chemicals their druggie parents have left out. I can't believe some people are so selfish that they would rather things like this continue to happen so they don't have to be "inconvenienced".

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mother Admits Guilt for Daughter's Meth Mouth in exchange for Plea Deal

LA PORTE — A woman admitted Friday to her role in a La Porte meth lab whose toxic vapors caused her 6-year-old daughter’s teeth to rot.

Under a guilty plea, Debra Benedict would receive a six-year prison sentence followed by five years on work release and four years on probation for Class B felony dealing methamphetamine and Class D felony neglect of a dependent.

La Porte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos took the plea under advisement. If he accepts it, Benedict’s sentencing is scheduled for April 15.

The girl’s father, Phillip Dalton, 46, on Jan. 7 received the same sentence.

Alevizos nearly rejected Benedict’s plea when she denied blame for her daughter’s teeth rotting due to the toxic chemicals used in the production of meth at the home.

“I kept my children away from that as much as possible,” Benedict said.

Alevizos angrily responded, “So, you have no idea how the girl was exposed to this? How did your daughter have all of her teeth out?”

After being questioned further by the judge and counseled by her attorney, Barbara Transki, the woman accepted blame.

“I know what I did was wrong. I did wrong by my children. Yes, I did,” Benedict said.

In November 2009, police responded to a domestic violence call at 504 Brighton St. and uncovered a meth lab.

The girl’s three teenage siblings also lived there, but the effects of meth exposure were more extreme in the girl, who during an examination at La Porte Hospital was diagnosed with “meth mouth,” a condition marked by sores and rotting teeth, according to court documents.

Officers shining flashlights into the home reported seeing a haze and felt the effects of the toxic fog. According to investigators, several batches of meth were cooked daily.

The children were placed with relatives in Knox, authorities said.


I believe the only reason this woman accepted the blame is because the judge was about to throw out her plea deal.  Only after the judge becoming angry and her lawyer speaking to her did she admit blame.  I hope they still throw it out.

New Child Advocacy Center To Help Montague County Kids - KAUZ-TV: NewsChannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

New Child Advocacy Center To Help Montague County Kids - KAUZ-TV: NewsChannel 6 Now Wichita Falls, TX

Montague County has been plagued with a meth problem and it's forcing hundreds of children into state custody.
In fact, the number of children the Montague County Child Welfare Board serves has more than doubled the past few years. Just last month they were working with 130 children who were in CPS custody.
Clint Brown is on the Child Welfare Board and said the reason more kids are in the system is because the sheriff's department is cracking down on meth.  That means more parents are being aggressively investigated and prosecuted.
To help these children feel more comfortable when being questioned by authorities, meeting foster parents or attending counseling sessions, the Child Welfare Board and Patsy's House have created a Child Advocacy Center.
"The place is just a key role in that because within moments of coming to patsy's house children have to tell the most horrible degrading things that have ever happened to them in their lives to a complete stranger and place is just key to that kid feeling comfortable and safe," executive director of Patsy's House Keri Goins said.
Patsy's House has a forensic interviewer on staff at the advocacy center who is trained in child development and interviewing skills.
"We're not only meeting their physical needs, health , education, social but, we're also meeting psychological needs to lead a productive life as adults," Clint Brown said.
There are some exterior improvements that need to be made but, the fact that it is up and running will make a huge difference to all the families who cannot afford to travel to Wichita Falls for services.
"we can't change what's happened to children, we can change what happens next. So, I think they feel when they come here what happens next is going to be better," Goins said.
The home is being leased for one year with an option to buy and is being paid for completely with donations.
If you would like to contribute to the Montague County Child Advocacy Center call Patsy's House at (940) 322-8890.
Lindsey Rogers, Newschannel 6

Saturday, January 22, 2011

81-yr-old Woman Suffers Acid Burns from Grandson's Meth Making Materials

An 81-year-old Bethel Springs woman is recovering after spilling acid used to make meth on her legs.
Mary Tate was reaching for the phone in her home Tuesday afternoon when she tipped a plastic bottle onto the floor. Inside was a sulfuric acid.
 "I spilled it and saw it turn the carpet black," said Tate. "I knew there was something wrong."
Police say the acid was put in Tate's house by her 20 year old great grandson, Darren Talley. He, and a friend, Victoria Jones, have been charged with promotion of meth and reckless endangerment, because of the burns to Tate.
"When it spilled, it started eating through her nightgown," said McNairy County Sheriff Guy Buck.
This isn't Talley's first time dealing with meth charges. In fact, McNairy County deputies arrested Talley in a Hardin County courthouse where he was appearing for another unrelated meth charge.
Talley remains in custody.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pseudoephedrine Restriction and Drug Endangered Children

The following is an excellent post from Holly Hopper, Director, National Drug Endangered Children Training & Advocacy Center.

One of the hot legislative topics at the state level involves scheduling of pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in Sudafed (R) and other forms of cold medicine. Our memories may easily fail to remember that this medication was available by prescription prior to making it an over-the-counter medication. As it turns out, this decision has cost the public--tax payers--millions upon millions of dollars as members of biker gangs and street chemists began to manufacture methamphetamine.

For the benefit of public convenience, children were forced to breathe dangerous chemicals and suffered the medical effects of this long-term exposure. Law enforcement officers were exposed to chemicals and dangerous environments without realizing the gravity of these harms. The response has evolved to include intensive Haz-Mat responder training for officers and hazardous waste disposal programs initiated by Regional Drug Task Forces to save money. There are a number of law enforcement officers who suffer the health consequences of these exposures that are evidenced by liver damage or lingering respiratory problems.

The children suffer greatly at the hands of a society of untrained responders who fail to see what is right before their eyes. Knowledge is required before an individual is able to interpret that which is before his eyes. With drug busts, dangers must be seen and understood before evidence can be collected, presented, and prosecuted. If children appear to be "okay", professionals respond to what they interpret in an instant to be well-enough to leave alone. What we know is that upon investigation it is common to discover children who test positive for the drugs abused by mom, dad, and caregivers. These children are frequently dehydrated, nutrient deficient, filled with fear, suffering the consequences of trauma, and perhaps even the victim of sexual abuse because they are the currency of convenience. They are the money used to purchase their parent's drug.

What does all this have to do with pseudoephedrine restriction? Drug users with use the upper or downer that is available and provides the least risk of arrest and prosecution. Parents of these children can make large amounts of money working as a "smurfer", a person who spends the days driving from pharmacy to pharmacy to purchase pseudoephedrine and resell it or provide it to the meth manufacturer. These individuals use fake ID's to overcome tracking measures that were intended to prevent illicit use of pseudoephedrine (just as some systems such as KASPER track narcotic prescriptions).

The DEC response targets all child victims of drug related crime. There are far too many of these children out there--over 90% of all substantiated child abuse cases are in this category. However, if I can be inconvenienced just a little, it is worth it to end abuse in this segment of the drug endangered child population.

Meth cannot be manufactured without pseudoephedrine and we have the power to end meth.

What can you do to save a child today?


*KY will be voting on a measure to make pseudoephedrine available by prescription only.  If you live in KY please contact your legislator and urge them to vote "YES" on Senate Bill 45.*

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When Your Addicted Loved One Asks for Help with Recovery

Occassionally we have people contact us asking how they can help their addicted loved one who is ready to quit using.  While we are not counselors or affiliated with any program we are happy to share what we have learned through personal experience and listening to others. 

First, family members and loved ones should learn all they can about the addiction.  It really helps to know what you and your addict are up against.  Mothers Against MethAmphetamine has litterature for families and addicts.  They have pamphlets, workbooks, and one highly recommended book "Crystal Meth - They Call it Ice".

Next, if they are want to go to rehab, help them find it.  They will probably need help searching for centers, filling out applications, and getting paperwork ready.  It can be a daunting job, especially for someone who is doing good just to function through daily tasks.

Below are a couple of options when you're looking for rehab.  There are many more that can be "googled" on the internet or by asking a local counseling center.

Teen Challenge is a nationwide substance abuse rehab program.  There are many different centers for dedicated to certain groups - men, women, teens.  David has visited several Teen Challenge centers.  He has met people who were clients and speak highly of the program.  When people call us asking about rehab, it is the one that we first recommend they check out.  Here is the Teen Challenge facility locator.

Also, here is a link to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Locator.  From this locator you can search to find substance abuse treatment based on type of drug abused, type of facility, length of stay, and payment options.

If rehab isn't an option you may want to help them find meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous or Celebrate Recovery if they want to go.  Not everyone who recovers goes to rehab or meetings, but they are beneficial for many.

If your loved one is in jail, you may want to provide them with recovery related reading materials or encourage them to take part in any treatment programs or ministries that are offered.  It really, really helps for the addicted person to understand what has been happening to their brains and bodies and what to expect during recovery.

Most importantly, let them know you love them and you are there to help.  A good support system, even if it consists of just one person, means more than most people realize.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Numer of Methamphetamine Users Rises

I am not sure it ever declined.  You can't base the number of users on the amount of labs, IMO.  Cutting back on the numbers of labs is great.  That would greatly decrease a whole set of risks.  However, as long as there is demand there will be a supply.  We have to tackle this issue from the prevention angle also.

QUINCY, ILL. -- It seems like every week there's a new arrest for methamphetamine use.
This week, a federal grand jury returned indictments charging two Quincy brothers with meth distribution.
People are finding new ways to purchase materials to make meth even with laws in place.
Methamphetamine use started in the midwest because the ingredients are easily available.
"For a significant period of time, these were larger meth labs: garage size operations or basement size operations, sometimes individual buildings doing fairly large quantities of meth," said Ron Howell of Recovery Resources.
But when the law restricting pseudoephedrine purchases passed a few years ago, the number of meth users dropped. Then, a new way of making meth was introduced. The shake and bake method lets users make meth in a two liter soda bottle. It makes a smaller amount for individual use, or for small groups of people.
"When the meth cooks discovered the shake and bake method, those numbers started to come back up again. So, now we're seeing an up-swing," said State's Attorney Jon Barnard.
State's Attorney Jon Barnard says in the entire state of Illinois, the convenience store with the highest number of psuedoephedrine sales isn't in Chicago or any other large city. It's right here in Quincy.
"What does that tell you? And it's not that the retail outlets are letting this stuff happen. They strictly comply with the law and they keep very close track, but it just tells you how relentless these people are," said Barnard.
Now, they're finding ways to get around the law. Smurfs, as they're called, buy psuedoephedrine for users, making it almost impossible to track who the drug is really for.
"Five to eight years ago it was kind of considered an extreme drug, unusual in terms of general addictive behavior. That's not the case anymore. It's become mainstream," said Ron Howell of Recovery Resources.
In 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice conducted a study, which ranked Illinois 4th in the country for meth arrests and meth lab seizures.
Methamphetamine users cost the state $2 billion dollars annually.