It was in the fall of 1999 that I first really heard of meth. I was reading an essay on the murder of Matthew Shephard in Harper’s while I was swiping cards at the campus cafeteria, a story I had paid little attention to since it had occurred nearly a year earlier. Whatever else may be murky or contested about that particular crime, there is no doubt that meth played a central rôle in the horrible series of events that left a young man dead and two more young men bound for prison.
The astonishing stat that still sticks in my head from that article was that half of all kids in Wyoming had tried meth at least once by the age of eighteen. The outrageously-vile combination of toxic ingredients that goes into the making of this deadly concoction boggles my sheltered mind. My uncle, a fire chief in a small Minnesota city, told me that much of his department’s time and efforts go into performing hazardous waste cleanup of meth labs around the county. What would induce children — and adults — to put such noxious substances into their bodies? The same as anything else that people do, I suppose: the desire to experience life other than how it so disappointingly is.