News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

March 12, 2014

EDITORIAL: Meth battle never ends

Major bust may help, but users keep market strong

TERRE HAUTE — It’s been more than a decade since local police officials declared methamphetamine as “public enemy No. 1.” Despite an enormous volume of energy and public resources devoted to combating meth, the scourge persists.

Meth use and addiction is a powerful fuel that drives the meth trade and, in some cases, meth manufacturing in makeshift labs. It has helped create and perpetuate a subculture in which the risk of capture, incarceration and health dangers are secondary considerations, if that, for those involved.

That local subculture was undoubtedly shaken last Saturday morning when law-enforcement officials intercepted a shipment of meth and other popular drugs into the area from Atlanta. Acting on a tip, the Indiana State Police stopped two vehicles driven by local residents as they entered Vigo County from the south.

It quickly became more than a routine traffic stop. Police say that the subsequent arrests of Marcus Pizzola and Stacy Holden led to charges also being filed against three more individuals, all for felony counts of dealing meth. A large amount of crystal meth — 3.5 pounds — was recovered during the stop, and police also say they now believe the incident has led to the dismantling of one of the largest meth distribution networks ever investigated in the Wabash Valley.

To understand the scope of this bust, police allege that over the past six months, Pizzola and his accomplices transported up to 50 pounds of meth into the area for distribution and sale. They estimate the street value of such an amount of meth is more than $1.1 million.

There has been considerable discussion in recent years about how to curtail meth-making activities. Pseudoephedrine, the principal ingredient in meth that is available in many over-the-counter cold and sinus medications, is now controlled by a mish-mash of state laws restricting and tracking purchases. Legislative efforts to make it available by prescription only have been unsuccessful.

But, as last weekend’s bust demonstrates, homemade meth may be a minor problem compared with massive trafficking to and from other locations. The large market of purchasers/users is what’s keeping the meth trade alive.

It’s impossible to know if the recent interception of meth will have a significant effect on meth usage in the area. Perhaps it will suppress some consumption. We hope so.

Still, users may be able to find the meth they want elsewhere. As long as a market of users exists, battling this drug menace will be difficult and, we suspect, ongoing.

 

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    March 12, 2010

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