Suburbia's Meth-Addicted Moms


As Breaking Bad‘s popularity taught the nation about the meth business, it seems the drug itself has crept into America’s real suburban PTA meetings.

… meth is becoming troublingly prevalent in the U.S., not just in longtime hotspots like Oregon, Nevada, Missouri and Kentucky, but also among suburban housewives, as chronicled in Miriam Boeri’s new book Women on Ice. And what was the threat of the television show’s fictional blue meth, for instance, when compared to the grisly reality of krokodil, known colloquially as “the zombie drug” and scientifically as desomorphine. Krokodil, as so many terrifying news reports reminded us, is a morphine derivative that not only turns users’ skin scaly and reptilian-looking, it eats away at the flesh, a side-effect of damaged tissues that can debilitate into gangrene. In October, the first U.S. cases of krokodil side-effects were reported, including that of a Missouri man who lost a finger.

In her book, Women on Ice author Boeri tells the story of Maggie, among other women, who is the typical suburban housewife except with a daily meth habit and a flourishing cocaine dealing business with her husband, a construction worker. Initially Maggie began using ice to lose weight, which she discovered was cheaper and just as effective as the weight loss drug her doctor had prescribed. Later, when she became depressed after the deaths of two close family members, she used ice to curb her depression because she found it more effective than her Paxil prescription.

Maggie eventually joined a twelve-step program; she was clean for a year and a half before she relapsed. Now, she’s trying to save others while still using herself.Here’s Maggie talking about a young girl she took in who is addicted to meth:

I mean, see poor old Julia. She’s been through hell, and I gave her an intervention. She actually looks better now. She got raped last week over at a friend’s house. And he left, and she was there by herself. … I feel so sorry for her because she is just—she’s alone. Just met her at some friend’s house. I went over there and next thing I know I brought her home … and I kept trying to tell her, “Julia, you are an addict,” and we [twelve-steppers] are not supposed to call each other addicts. And I keep trying to say [to Julia], “I can’t call you an addict but I’m telling you, from experience, that you need to go [to a twelve-step program], and I’ll take you” … I love being clean to be honest with you. I know in my heart I like being clean [drug-free] … I tell Julia all the time. “Shit,” I said, “forget that I’m using. … I’ll go in with you … when you work the program, when you get to step four, all of a sudden you wake up one day and world is just all out there. It’s like God opens miracles for you.” … I keep telling Julia to go clean with me, “Julia, you know, when we get to step four [of the twelve-steps], if you are not seeing miracles happening in your life, I’ll go buy your dope [local slang term for methamphetamine] and we’ll go out and get high again.

The situation is horrible all around and probably not the quickest path to clean living, seeing as the twelve steps are about curbing addictive behavior and not about indulging addictions as some sort of reward. Maggie’s heart is in the right place, but not much else is.

[Rolling Stone, Alternet]

Image via Getty.

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