Operation: Meth - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Operation: Meth

May 8, 2003

Albany-- It's a dangerous drug, but Methamphetamine is more popular than ever. But, how addictive is it, and why is it so common here in southwest Georgia? Newscenter 10's 

The end product of what a man made is his amateur drug video ruined a Southwest Georgia woman's life.

“That drug will make you love it, more than your child, more than your family…” To protect her identity, we'll call her Rebecca. “I just got bored with pot one day and decided I wanted something different.”

So Rebecca turned to Methamphetamine. Snorting one to two lines a day. “I progressed into smoking and it just got worse it got out of hand.”

Meth, also called crank, ended up to be an expensive habit. “Usually $50.00 would get you started, but I had a thousand dollar habit a week.”

Like most users, she didn't have enough money to support the habit. “I was caught shoplifting boxes of Sudafed from a buisness.” Nasal decongestants are key ingredients to making meth; the pills contain pseudoephedrine.

Crushed pills of Sudafed are mixed into the dangerous and highly flammable concoction.

“You hardly ever think of the illegal part of it, just the legal part where you can help patients,” said Pharmacist Joe McGalliard.

McGalliard is a pharmacist at Thrift Center in Camilla. He looks out for Sudafed thieves. Some pharmacies limit customers. “It comes in a box of 24, if anybody needs one box one day and one box the next, they are definetly not taking it correctly or they are a suspect.”

Meth is becoming more popular. A rolling meth lab was found inside a tractor trailor in Lowndes County. Another lab found in the back of a car on the Dougherty-Lee County line. Another one was found in a Clinch County home.

The popularity is partly because household items are used to cook meth. Items like duct tape, lithium batteries, Iodine, coffee filters, starter fluid and camping fuel.

Anhydrous Ammonia is another key ingredient. Farm companies use the chemical to make fertilizer. It's hazardous to inhale and can be deadly. Anhydrous Ammonia thieves are also on the rise.

It gives you this overpowering sense that you can do anything,” says Rebecca. But the high wears you're body out, then you want another hit to keep going. “I stayed up for 18 days straight. It will pretty much take your soul and get a total disregard for society.”

Jail time has forced Rebecca to think about her life, or what she had. “It hurts a lot, I have a lot of guilt.” The drug made Rebecca withdraw from her family and her 9-year-old son. “I have pretty much shamed and embarrassed him because of it, because of him knowing I've been to jail.”

Rebecca has been clean for almost a year since she was locked up. Part of her sentence is to go into rehab. The man in our report who videotaped himself making meth, plead guilty, and will serve six years in jail.

Several GBI agents have had serious, long term injuries as a result of walking into a methamphetamine lab without protective gear. Now, Georgia lawmakers are taking a stand against methamphetamine production.

The Senate and House approved to make it a felony offense to possess or transport anhydrous ammonia without a license. Now the bill heads to the governor for his signature.

posted at 4:45PM by dave.miller@walb.com