How Meth Cooks Pass on Their Skills to the Next Generation
Methamphetamine remains, two decades after use exploded in the US, a serious public health problem in many communities. Now a second generation of meth makers and meth users is coming of age, in the tradition of children going into the family business.
At the same time, new regulations have made medicines containing pseudoephedrine—the active ingredient in making meth—much harder to get, with the result that home-production is more dangerous than ever.
An anthropologist embedded himself in one such community in Missouri to understand life among the meth tribe:
Cooking meth is a kind of apprenticeship. Recipes circulate among cooks like secrets or rumors. Apprenticeships take place in the woods or in the home, sometimes inter-generationally. There are cases when three generations of a single family have cooked and used together. They engage in a DIY practice that I equate with alchemy. They’re transmuting base substances—everyday commodities you can find at Walmart—into something precious: a panacea, a cure-all. Meth cures all ills of the world by transforming the world, by tweaking the user’s neurological relation to the world. Meth cooking is alchemy in its contemporary, late-capitalist form.
You Might Also Like
Check out this interactive feature to get a unique sense of the current numbers—based on data from SAMHSA, the CDC and the FBI—for drug use, drug problems and more.... Read More
Sam’s struggle with schizophrenia has led to substance abuse. His doctors say medication could help get both diagnoses under control, but he finds it difficult to maintain a regular dosage... Read More
Nearly 5,000 people. That was the meth death toll in 2015. This number has risen dramatically since 2010. In fact, between 2010 and 2014, it doubled. 897,000 people. That’s the estimated number... Read More
Recent media reports have given significant attention to the spread of opioid addiction in suburban America. We can no longer view drug addiction as an inner-city issue that affects a small portion... Read More
A crisis that kills 91 Americans every day and controls the lives of nearly 2.6 million, the opioid epidemic is very much out of control. There remains a huge gap between what is known about... Read More