Could you describe the circumstances that led you to trying meth in the 1st place?
I was in the middle of a divorce, and I was up for anything…different. My husband had left me, I was 19 years old and I was devastated. I was living in my house by myself so I started spending more time with my girlfriends. They were all into meth but I didn’t know it at first. But I did notice they could stay up all night when I could only make it to 2 am. This is when they were all drinking (alcohol) as well. They used to all whisper to each other and go to the bathroom together which I thought was odd. When my ex and I used to go to parties with these friends they kept it from me because they thought I was a goody two shoes.
So your friends introduced you to meth?
My best friend that I grew up with actually introduced meth to me. Once when I was feeling particularly bad after the divorce I spent the weekend at her house. Since I was there all weekend she couldn’t hide her meth use from me anymore. I decided to try it with her. It was just supposed to be a fun, social thing, not a long term addiction.
Did you know about the dangers of meth when you tried it?
Not really. I heard about it in 9th grade health class. I think they called it “crank”. But I didn’t pay that close of attention because I didn’t think I would ever try it. In the 90s they preached the dangers of cocaine and crack more than any other drug.
How did meth make you feel?
I had no worries. I felt euphoric. It took away my anxiety. I had lots of energy and was not hungry.
How many months or years did you do meth?
At first I did it for 2 years straight. I tried to quit for several months but kept going back to it. It took 5 years to quit altogether.
When did you consider yourself to be “hooked” on meth?
For the first 2 years I did not consider myself to be hooked. It was just a social thing that I did on weekends. The last 3 years I knew that I was addicted to it and tried to stop several times. My friends were all still doing it and I always knew where to get it.
Did you have any friends who were not on meth?
No, they were all on it. When you’re high on meth you only want to socialize with other people who are high also. You start to become paranoid of non-meth users, even your own family.
What kind of backgrounds did you all come from?
We all came from lower or middle class families. A lot of my friends did not have very good father figures. They were either in prison, dead or just not around.
How much did it cost for one dosage of meth and how long did the high last?
A few people could share $25 worth of meth and be high for 24 hours. $50 worth could produce a high for 2 – 3 days. I was actually considered a light user, so I never spent more than $50 in a weekend.
How much money did a heavy user spend on meth in a weekend?
In one weekend heavy users can spend $300 to $600 on meth. Drug dealers liked to hang out at the parties to sell more drugs and possibly get more people hooked. But sometimes I think they just liked to socialize.
Where did the heavy users get the money to buy meth?
Most of them didn’t work because acquiring and doing meth was their whole life. Some of them started making it themselves and sold it. Other friends would help them for their share of it. Some of them stole household items and pawned them. They might steal CDs, drills or anything of value to sell. They would often steal from their family or friends. One of my “friends” even broke into my house and stole all my jewelry. I always had a job the whole time I was on meth but that’s not typical.
Where were these meth parties held and what kinds of activities did you do at them?
We usually got together at my best friend’s house. We would have conversations, play cards or play dice for hours. Some people would draw, doodle or play computer games. Sometimes I ended up cleaning the house.
How did meth affect your thinking and functioning?
It interferes with your logic and turns you into a different person. You don’t have the same morals. You don’t take care of yourself. When you come down off of it you feel very tired and depressed. You tend to call in sick to work more and make more mistakes when you do work. People on meth don’t progress and mature. I know some 40 year olds who still act like teenagers.
How did you consume the meth?
At first we snorted it, sometimes with cocaine also. Later when we got a hold of good quality crystal meth we always smoked it.
You mentioned cocaine. Did you ever do any other drugs with the meth?
We usually drank alcohol and sometimes people smoked pot. But the meth was always the main drug. I didn’t even smoke pot when I started doing meth. I went right from alcohol to meth.
So do you think that alcohol is the “gateway drug” if there is one?
Definitely. I think that alcohol is the first drug that most kids try. Usually meth is introduced at a party when people are already drunk.
I heard you were arrested. Could you describe the events leading up to your arrest?
I was hanging out with a rough crowd who would go to any lengths to get meth. They started manufacturing it at my best friend’s house, the place where we all partied together. The last day I went to my friend’s house we smoked meth and did cocaine also. The next morning I wanted to get out of there but my friend wanted me to wait for her. She took a long time to put on her makeup and get ready. She also had to roll two joints before leaving the house. When we left the cops were waiting outside. They arrested everyone in the house at the time, which was about 5 people.
How did they find out it was a meth house?
I heard they had been watching the house for a long time. An undercover agent approached my best friend about buying meth. She told him to call her brother. The brother brought the undercover agent to the house which is a stupid thing to do but they were all on drugs and not thinking right.
Did you have to spend time in jail?
I was taken to the county jail and spent two nights there. My parents didn’t have any money to loan me for the bail bond. My dad was able to convince my best friend’s dad to bail me out, and I paid him back later.
How much did the arrest, the lawyer and the fines cost?
Altogether the bail bond, lawyer and fines were $6000 to $7000.
What kind of sentence were you given?
Since it was a first arrest I was given deferred adjudication. I was on probation for two years and had to perform community service in addition to a fine. I plead guilty to manufacturing even though I wasn’t involved with that because I was too young and naïve to bargain with the prosecutor.
How did being on probation affect your life?
I actually appreciated it because I felt that I deserved it. For the community service I worked in a soup kitchen and picked up trash on the side of the road. I was not allowed to go to bars, buy liquor, or be around felons. I was randomly drug tested. Even though I successfully served my probation there are certain activities I can never do. I can never serve on jury duty, can never own any guns, and I can never work in law enforcement or any other jobs that will not employ felons.
So the felony has narrowed the number of companies that will hire you?
Yes. I applied to Convergys, a telemarketing firm, and after filling out all the paperwork was told that they didn’t want to hire me after all. They asked me if I had a felony and I was honest and told them yes. I felt totally degraded. I noticed that not all companies will check to see if you have a felony and that not all applicants are honest.
What happened to your friends who were on meth?
None of them were able to stay clean. They’re still on it or in jail
I understand you have a brother on meth. What did he say when you tried to warn him?
He denies having a problem with it. He doesn’t like to take advice from anyone.
What would you say to parents who suspect their child is on meth about the more subtle signs of meth usage?
Staying up all night is common but sleeping for a long time also occurs (after the drug high wears off). There is a definite change in attitude. The child can become mean and hateful and act like they know everything. Their pupils are dilated. You can sense that something is “off” in their behavior. They might start selling some of their possessions for the money to buy meth but not necessarily. Sometimes meth users give it away free to teenagers.
What do you think that we as a society can do about the meth problem?
Educate everyone about it, especially the adults and parents. It’s everywhere and many people can’t stop using it. I had to take a drug class while on probation which helped. Anyone who gets caught with it should have to take a class.
Interview conducted 2-16-14 with anonymous East Texas woman