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Meth: Menacing Rural Areas, Part II

By Kerry Longobucco.
The 'one pot method' has helped meth labs sweep small town and villages across the twin tiers. Methamphetamine is threatening the safety of not only addicts -- but also the members of communities where they reside.

The one pot meth making has turned cars into mobile labs. Soda bottle labs have made it faster and easier to make -- and more dangerous.

This waste is still unstable, and can cause fire, it can cause explosion.

"I have been to a house that was blown up, I have been to people injured," senior investigator Wayne Moulton, with the Tioga County Sheriff's Office, said. "It's a severe problem with these new one pots."

A chalky residue is a giveaway that a soda bottle has been used to make meth. It's turned something as simple as picking up bottle alongside the road into something hazardous

"I wouldn’t touch it," Moulton said. "Nothing’s worth a nickel to get yourself hurt.”

Meth labs of any kind give off toxic fumes. That means what your neighbor is cooking, could be deadly.

"Any place where meth is being manufactured is considered toxic," Jill Alford-Hammitt, manager of Lourdes Substance Abuse Prevention Programs, said. "It can get into the furniture, into the walls, into the cupboards, especially if they're natural material like wood."

The people most at risk -- the users themselves.

"It really creates long term damage, or changes to the brain that can last for years afterwards," Alford-Hammitt said.

Physical damage is the most obvious consequencs. Dental decay, burnt lips, weight loss, a wide-eyed look, enlarged pupils, sores -- especially on the face and arms, scratching or picking at the skin are all associated with meth use.

Most users are also extremely paranoid.

"Just because the addicts themselves tend to be paranoid about anything," Alford-Hammitt said. "They tend to have a lot of weapons at ready access in their residences which can make them very dangerous."

One of the most devastating effects -- and the reason the drug is so addictive -- is how it floods the part of the brain that make you feel good.

"You will never actually feel that good again so you will constantly be chasing that type of pleasurable feeling," Alford-Hammitt said. "They have a very hard time feeling happiness or pleasure."

And when their high is gone -- addicts are left at an all-time low.

"The depression that they go through when they quit using can last anywhere from six to 18 months," Alford-Hammitt said.

This makes for a long and complicated trip to recovery.

If you or someone you love is seeking treatment, contact the Addiction Center of Broome County at 723-7308.