DRUG TASK FORCE: Meth is a 'big problem'

COLUMBIA CITY — The Drug Task Force made a presentation at the Columbia City Common Council meeting Tuesday on the dangers of methamphetamine, its origins, how it is made and why it has become a big problem.Detectives Gary Archbold and Bill Brice were both present at the meeting, as Brice said, “This is certainly by far the number one problem in America as far as I’m concerned. I know it’s a big problem. We try to bust them and put them in jail. It’s affecting numerous people, people that cannot get off of it. We put them in jail, they’ll be there a couple of years, and the only thing that’s keeping them going is knowing when they get out, they get to go make meth. We hear that same story over and over.”Brice said the precursors for meth are readily available, and two hours after collecting everything needed, the meth could be ready to use.“This is a bad problem, and any help we can get is really important to our community,” said Brice.According to Brice, meth sells on the street for about $50 a gram, with a good cook, a box of Sudafed (active ingredient of pseudoephedrine) can equal over $200.“The whole process is as simple as removing one oxygen molecule from pseudoephedrine to make meth,” said Brice.Common precursors for meth include Sudafed, lithium batteries as well as ammonium nitrate, found in instant cold packs.“That’s the kind of stuff we’d like to know about,” said Brice. “They need Sudafed, and you can only buy so much of it a month,” said Brice. “After that, they either pay you $50 to go buy a box or they’ll get people to buy other things for them, especially the Sudafed. So they’ve actually made the problem even worse because they are getting people involved who aren’t even in the culture.”The other thing Brice said they do is give away some of the meth.“People are going to be affected differently, but we hear it a lot that if they try it once they get addicted to it,” said Brice. “People are usually not just involved in meth. They’ve been involved in other things or their family has been involved in other things.”Brice said to watch out for bottles that contain leftovers from meth, especially bottles with holes in the caps.“The hydrochloric gas can turn to hydrochloric acid, which if it is inhaled, it can burn the lungs,” said Brice.