Meth is one of those drugs that you hear about and it immediately has a name and face. My cousin was a meth dealer in high school. No one realized she had a drug problem until the police arrested her. That was almost ten years ago, but it seems like yesterday. Meth continues to reappear too close to home on many occasions in my life, whether it’s finding drug paraphernalia outside the library or a tweaker coming up to me on the street. I don’t want to dismiss meth as somebody’s else’s problem and I think there are ways in which we can combat it. For me knowledge is power. I empower myself by learning. I felt empowered after reading Elaine Landau’s Meth and Ellen Hopkins’ Crank. I’m hoping to empower more teens by encouraging them to learn about meth. There’s a hope in the back of my mind that a teen will pick up one of these books before experimenting with the drug and then maybe, they’ll think twice.
Ellen Hopkins’ Crank is an account of her own daughter’s experience with methamphetamine. Kristina has a bold alter ego who she calls Bree. Bree does all the things that Kristina is too shy to do. The monster aka meth takes over Kristina’s life after a date with a gorgeous guy who falls in love with Bree. The gorgeous guy turns Kristina’s life upside down as she falls head over heels in love. It doesn’t help that Kristina’s estranged father who she’s staying with for a couple weeks during the summer is a druggie. Crank is an all too personal account of how meth can destroy a life in the blink of an eye. Crank is also a hopeful story that ends with recovery. Told in verse, it’s a quick read that will appeal to reluctant readers as well as those who are curious.
Another book that I had a chance to read is Meth: America’s Drug Epidemic by Elaine Landau. This long overdue non-fiction title came out last year and gives factual information about meth that goes beyond “just say no!” (I personally hate all those preachy drug books that basically tell you “drugs are bad, people who do drugs are bad.”) Interesting facts that I gleaned from Meth is that it was used by Japanese soldiers toward the end of World War II and it was once prescribed by doctors. Eye-opening information since I thought it was just cooked up illegally. Interesting to find it had a “legitimate” past. Another interesting aspect of Meth is that is also goes into the social implications of this increasing problem. Landau talks about how burn units in hospitals are being overwhelmed by botched meth production. Landau presents a lot of information in an easy to read non-condescending format. I learned a thing or two about meth and I thought I’d heard it all. (Admittedly, I’m one of those people who watch sensational news shows and recreations of deaths/tragedies.)
Meth is a serious topic for discussion. It is a problem that effects all of our lives. The aforementioned books are only a few of the resources available out there about the drug. If you would like to contribute a useful resource in the comments section of this blog entry, I’d love to compile it into an annotated bibliography in the future.