Methamphetamine use is a problem in Southern Illinois. For years, we have been passing laws to keep young people and others away from this dangerous drug, and for years, these laws and programs headed up by local and state law enforcement agencies were having the intended effect. Meth use was going down. But recently, we’ve started to see meth use increase again, in part because drug dealers and manufacturers have found an easier way to make meth.
Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive drugs out there. It can be made from a variety of commonly available ingredients, like cold medicine, fertilizer, drain cleaner, hydrochloric acid, and brake cleaner. The process of making meth creates dangerous chemicals. Meth creates a high by releasing abnormal amounts of the chemical dopamine. Its abuse can have permanent effects and can result in psychotic behavior. It can be deadly on the first use, causing strokes, dangerously high body temperature, and other hazardous side effects.
This year, I passed a new law that will help crack down on meth producers and abusers. It makes it illegal for someone who has been convicted of making, selling, or abusing meth to buy or own any of the ingredients of methamphetamine. The only exception is for individuals who receive a doctor’s prescription for medicine that contains meth ingredients. Anyone found guilty of breaking this law will be subject to one to three years in prison—the penalty for a Class 4 felony.
To me, this just makes sense. If we know someone has a history of meth abuse, they shouldn’t be able to buy products that contain meth ingredients. It’s hard to make a drug if you don’t have the pieces you need. And because all the penalties fall on the meth abuser, stores that sell these products are on board, too. They don’t want meth in our communities any more than you or I do.
Hopefully, this new law, combined with some of the other laws and programs that are already on the books will help to lower meth abuse again.