Meth dealers around the United States are working overtime to deliver their customers the best possible product. It’s a business like any other, and business is always better when you can increase sales and cut costs (read: corners). Meth manufacturers may have found their zenith with a new method of creating the drug. Problem is, the new meth is twice as dangerous to cook and is filling hospital burn units around the country.
Manufacturing crystal meth usually checks-in on lists consisting of the most dangerous occupations (legal concerns notwithstanding). It requires large spaces, bathtubs, sheds, highly volatile chemicals, and a couple of enthusiastic amateur chemists. The new method, called the “one pot” technique, requires a simple 2-liter bottle, putting the deadly cocktail right into the brewer’s hands. Says one law enforcement official: “You’re holding a flame-thrower in your hands.”
Also, the method uses less pseudoephedrine than dated recipes, creates usable drugs in minutes, and is much easier to conceal and carry, it has become the production method of choice, and about 80% of meth labs busted by the DEA in 2010 used the technique.
It’s hard to put a finger on an exact figure, primarily because so many patients in the recent burn-victim spike don’t admit to making meth. “They’ll say they were working on the carburetor at 2 or 3 in the morning and things blew up,” said one doctor. “So we don’t know for sure, but 25% to 35% of our patients are meth-positive when we check them.” So unless there’s another explanation for a dramatic increase in uninsured burn patients, there’s some gray area.
Oh yeah, what does this mean for you? Primarily, the admittance of an uninsured patient of any kind is absorbed as loss by the hospital, or remedied in more “creative” ways (like they do in Scrubs). Either way, hospitals and medical professionals WILL treat the uninsured no matter what and just figure out the paperwork later. Burn therapy can be long-lasting and expensive as well, even for the insured. So combine a massive spike in burn center admission with most, if not nearly all, of those patients being uninsured. That’s thousands of uninsured burn patients requiring millions of dollars in advanced treatment. This burden is so costly that it’s contributing to the closure of some burn units.
That means the risks of meth addiction affects you too, right now. Even if you’ve never gone anywhere near the drug.
What do you think should be done to combat the new meth, and its consequences?