Posted by Edmond Geary | Posted in Drug Possession, Drug charges, Oklahoma drug enforcement | Posted on 10-07-2010
Since Oklahoma banned the unregulated sale of pseudoephedrine in 2004, the availability of methamphetamine declined for a while. Now it’s coming back. Last year, 743 meth labs were discovered, and this year is on track to exceed that at 300 labs seized to date. Most of the labs were of the one-pot lab variety, also called “shake-and-bake” process of cooking or concocting meth. Most of them have been located in Northeast part of the state or around the Tulsa area.
Last May, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control found one one-pot lab in Oklahoma City, while 23 were discovered in Tulsa. The ingredients are cheap: one 20-ounce bottle of water, pseudoephedrine, camp fuel, chemical ice packs and some other easily-obtained materials are all it takes to make some meth with this method. Recipes can be found online, along with step-by-step videos explaining how to do it.
So far this year, the state’s Medical Examiner has identified 26 deaths associated with meth, from overdoses of meth to burns from accidents in the cooking process. Nathan Knapp of Luther was one of those, burned with third-degree burns from an accidental fire and later died. No chemists are needed to try this process, no laboratory, and they usually yield only enough for the cook’s own addiction. But sometimes several people will contribute pseudoephedrine to share in the product.
In the year before the regulation of pseudoephedrine went into effect, the number of labs exceeded 1200. The number shrank by 90% until the one-pot labs started springing up in 2008. Mexican cartels brought their product to Oklahoma to meet the demand with ice, a crystallized, smokable meth. Last month, agents arrested one Albert Gomez-Gomez, whom they claim is a member of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel, here to establish an operation to rival the established Juarez Cartel.
The OBNDD claims 20% of the meth consumed in Oklahoma comes from Mexico, brought overland on the highways. The agency also claims to have b locked 54,349 sales of pseudoephedrine since enactment of the law last November that requires a would-be purchaser to provide his date of birth and Oklahoma driver’s license. They claim that prevents those previously convicted of meth-related crimes from purchasing pseudoephedrine for up to 10 years. They are still pushing to make pseudoephedrine a prescription drug.
Ingestion of meth triggers release of dopamine, a neurochemical in the brain. Meth causes high amounts of dopamine to collect in the brain, causing a rush of euphoria. It makes the user wanting more. Too much dopamine in the brain causes schizophrenia, a condition characterized by delusions, hallucinations and bizarre behavior. Too little pseudoephedrine causes Parkinson’s disease and affects motor areas of the brain.
A meth addict will do whatever he can to get more. Well known is the addictive aspect of meth, psychologically, of course, but also physiologically and neurologically, such that, once use of meth is stopped, the user should have medical supervision. That’s for those lucky enough to quit.