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Your experiences
MPR News asked if you have experience with meth, and we've received personal stories of how meth use affected individuals and communities. Here are some firsthand accounts.

Do you have experience with meth? You can share your story.

St. Paul, Minn. —

A couple of years ago I had a chance to meet an intelligent, outspoken individual who spoke unabashedly about personal responsibility. The individual, a farmer in rural southern Minnesota, and was charged earlier this year for making meth on one of their farms. I understood that the individual was arrested, criminal charges were filed, and the individual was undergoing treatment and trying to put the young family back together. A spouse is now left with raising their child in common along with stepchildren, and farming.

When I heard this person was involved with meth, I thought someone was pulling my leg. I simply could not believe it. I still don't believe it. As I understand, there are many others in rural Minnesota involved in meth. I pray that this person will recover and use their experience to help others and educate the rest of us. I can only surmise that their ties with agriculture and ability to get anhydrous ammonia made them an easy pick. I found out that while meth takes along the usual suspects, it takes along many more that we would never guess.

My son, who is now 18 and graduated from high school earlier this month, readily admitted to trying meth and had friends who made the stuff in southern, rural Minnesota. Some got caught, some were lucky enough to quit before getting caught, and the rest continue to take their chances. This drug is unrelenting and will permeate every part of our society. No one is immune!

-- Dawn Weber, New London, Minn.


I had a friend in high school that was big into the party scene (drinking, pot, smoking). She met a guy who was into Meth. I drifted away from her and now just saw her again after 5 years. Her mom and dad died from cancer and she helped them, all the while using. Now this has just backed up her assumption that the drug has not made it hard for her. I am worried her world will come tumbling down soon.

-- AT, Minneapolis, Minn


My sister and her husband adopted two children, a brother and sister aged 5 and 7, some 18 years ago. Both were constant problems; they had been abused in foster homes, and both had fetal alcohol syndrome. The girl was less affected than her younger brother, but she had a terrible adolescence. She hit her mother, hated her father (and all men), ran away from home or mental treatment centers, kicked holes in the walls, etc. My sister had $1 million in insurance for mental treatment; Trish (not her real name) exhausted it. During this time she started using any drugs she could get hold of.

Trish was raped at least 4 times before she was 15, once when she was in foster care and 3 times during periods when she had run away from home. She was a bright, pretty girl, in spite of the fetal alcohol effects; she had naturally curly hair and liked to write when she was off drugs. She was pleasant to be around, unless you were her parents.

When Trish was 16 she left home, married, & immediately had two children. She joined the Army, but was excused when she told them her husband wasn't raising the children right. In fact, neither of them was raising Trish's children at all. Her husband's mother and grandmother-in-law, who are also drug users, are raising the children. Trish started breaking into my sister's house and stealing things for drug money.

When Trish came home from the Army, she left her husband and took up with a man I now only as "No-Good," since that's how my sister refers to him. She had another baby by No-Good; No-Good is now in prison, and that baby is being raised by No-Good's mother, yet another druggie. But she became more pleasant toward her parents as she matured - my sister says that even when Trish was on meth, she was nice, just "wiggly and giggly."

The next thing I heard of Trish was that she was in the hospital with Aplastic Anemia. Her brother, who ought to know since he is a drug user himself, says that the Aplastic Anemia was caused by using meth. She was in the hospital for several weeks before they found a bone marrow donor. She responded well to the transplant and was dismissed from hospital to her husband, who wanted to take her home to his mom & grandmother, where she could be looked after; but she insisted on being taken to her own place.

She apparently died almost immediately after getting home, but it was a week before her body was found. No autopsy was done, but it seems most likely that she died of an accidental overdose of meth. Trish was 25.

As an adult, Trish had tried many times to stop drugs, and apparently she did stop most drugs, but she could not shake the meth habit. It seems such a waste to have such a young person die of a habit she did not want to have. Meth got hold of her and would not let go. She left three motherless children, a husband who still loved her in spite of her affair with No-Good, and my sorrowing sister and husband. She could have been something wonderful without meth. But now she is gone.

-- HC, Fayetteville, AR


Meth is the scariest drug I have ever been affected by, and I am not a user. I am a recovering cocaine addict, and have used many drugs, including heroin and prescription narcotics. I began using drugs when I was 12, and completed treatment the same month that I turned 25.I quit using all drugs except nicotine almost thirteen years ago.

I am raising a beautiful daughter whom I adopted two years ago. I will call her Daisy. Daisy's birth mother was killed in a auto accident before Daisy's second birthday. I assume it was drug related, as Daisy's birth mother was a meth user, and it was a single car accident in the very early morning hours with no known cause. She was only nineteen.

Daisy's paternal grandfather was convicted of manufacturing meth about a month ago, along with his brother. My husband's brother is doing time, 4 years, meth related. We don't hear much from my mother-in-law these days. She had came to my house psychotic from meth. My husband was out of town, and she was so far gone, said my TV was talking about her, people were trying to kill her, she was seeing people in the walls, it was horrible. I took her to the emergency room and the doctor wanted to send her to a psychiatric hospital, but no one would take her because she tested positive for meth. The rehabs wouldn't take her because they wanted her to detox first. She checked herself out of detox two days later.

She tells others that I tricked her into detox. The last time I saw her she didn't appear high. But she sounded as if she was still quite insane. She told me that her boyfriend had filmed her having sex by planting a video camera under the bed that it could "see" though the mattress. She said the tapes were being rented out at a local video store, but she couldn't prove it because they had changed her face. Then she started crying, saying she recognized her body in the tapes.

Many of Daisy's blood relatives are meth users. It is a very hard balance for me to be sure she is safe, and still allow her to know her birth family members who chose to keep contact.

I am discouraged by the lack of anti-meth propaganda. I see ads on TV saying don't smoke weed and I think who cares, warn them about meth.

Meth is a common topic around here. Some things I have learned just in day to day conversations include how many high school students are using meth, a high school counselor that I heard of is frustrated because she cannot insist that a student seek treatment even if they tell her they are using. Social services in this area are being overloaded due to neglect issues concerning children of meth users. Meth users sometimes don't recover normal function after stopping use. I have seen this and heard of it from others. For example, a co-workers mother often enters the house through a window. She has been clean over a year.

Meth frightens me. I see signs of its use among people I don't know well also. Many of the people working the night shift at the factory where I worked and my husband still works use meth. They have clenched jaws, or grind their teeth. Their eyes look bruised. They lose weight to an extreme. They develop odd sores. They tend to over-focus on things. They remind me of the zombies in the old black and white movie, Dawn of the Dead. It's strange to admit it, but my fear of meth reminds me of the way that movie frightened me when I saw it many years ago.

I look at the effects of meth, the manufacturing busts, the cost to the environment, the cost to families, the physical cost of health to users, the cost to taxpayers to jail people, the time taken from the people in jail, the expense brought to families trying to be supportive of people in jail, I could go on and on. But I look at all of these things and think, "Oh Dear God, it's spreading. Oh God, they can't come back."

-- MS, Northern Minn


I have said many times this past year to people, "Don't ever think meth addiction cannot happen to you or someone in your family." I have found out firsthand how the effect of meth use not only destroys a family it infiltrates, it also destroys the very community that one lives in. This epidemic is everyone's battle!

I find that many of my community members think that the meth problem is an urban one. I have expressed to many of them that this is not solely an urban problem and moving to the 'burbs does not guarantee protection. Become involved before it's too late.

I wish I had time to tell you of our family's experience with this horrible destructive drug, because our lives are forever changed. My job as a Mother was taken away from me before I was ready to give it up. I have mourned who my son was, and while I am truly grateful our son is still alive and that he got the help when he did, along with his birthday we now celebrate his sobriety and pray everyday that he will be strong enough to win the battle. This war compares with nothing I have ever witnessed! I see this in the legal system that I work in, the community that I reside in, and in the home that I live in! Please continue to get the message our regarding Meth and the destruction it causes.

-- Tracy Olson, Cottage Grove, Minn


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