Friday, February 15, 2008

Crystal meth-ods

This morning there was a news item on the radio about crystal meth. It's only starting to permeate these shores. From having no meth labs a few years ago, the police now estimate that there are twenty.

Coincidentally a few years ago, I considered introducing meth to the UK market. I used to have a long running riff with a friend of mine about how we were gonna become crystal meth queens. That we could cook it up in my shed at first and that we could use new migrants from Eastern Europe to be our runners, distributors and a sizeable part of our customer base.

I once even suggested the plan to an unemployed American rocket scientist (she was a chemist working with rocket fuels at one point) that she could come in on the plan and help us cook it up. Her boyfriend (perhaps lacking the appreciation for the high irony of the joke) was clearly appalled and said he didn't want her blowing up their flat. I said that I was sure he was underestimating her abilities.

We didn't see much of them after that.

My friend and I talked about marketing plans. Once in front of gen-u-ine London ad man. He said we were going all wrong with a piece meal approach to product introduction. He said what we really needed was a high profile celebrity arrest while hopped up on meth - and that the lower socio-economic profile groups would follow. That probably would have been a very expensive piece of advice had he charged.

Anyway, obviously, being law abiding types, we didn't even take the first step toward completing our plan. I haven't even bought sudafed when I've had a cold. I didn't even clean out my shed, which needed it anyway.

So it looks like we may have missed the boat on the meth thing. Just as well, I'm sure. The Texan has gone on to get her MBA and I have an ickle baby.

It couldn't happen here

The copper on the news piece this morning acknowledged that it was a growing problem, but was optimistic that it wouldn't become as rife as it has been in the US and in Australia. I do wonder if this isn't a bit of wishful thinking. According to one Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) rep:

Victoria Machin, secretary to Acpo's national methamphetamine working
group, which produced the study, said: "We have found clear evidence of meth
production, distribution or use right across the country." She said the
numbers involved remained small, although she added that it was difficult to get
an accurate picture as some people did not realise they were taking the drug.
"Drug users who are thinking 'This crack is good' are sometimes taking crystal
meth; that's the information we are getting off the street and that seems to be
the way it is creeping into the system."


Metropolitan police commander Simon Bray, who leads Acpo's work on
methamphetamine, said: "What we are finding now is that crystal meth is being
found in people who think they are taking cocaine or heroin ... In a pilot
scheme recently where those arrested were tested for the substance 4% were found
to be positive. "We approached one [police] force who assured us they did
not have a crystal meth problem in their area. After we had given them more
information about the drug it emerged that there were in fact two or three towns
where crystal meth was readily available."

But what really indicated it was wishful thinking was some nice little code for it couldn't happen here. The copper on the radio this morning said -

There are some demographic differences from the US and Australia.

Oh yeah? Does that mean you think there's more class and less trash in the UK? Hmmm...I think perhaps he hasn't watched any Jeremy Kyle* lately.

*UK trash talk show specialising in the DNA and lie detector tests

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