Tahlequah Daily Press

Editorials

August 9, 2013

Education, vigilance weapons against meth

TAHLEQUAH — Methamphetamine continues to be a serious problem in Cherokee County, and the only solutions are vigilant law enforcement, and relentless education.

Just this week, prosecutors charged an area man they say is a “major supplier” of meth in this area (see story at tahlequahdailypress.com). The suspect has been arrested several times and has several addresses, which indicates he moves around. That’s one of the hallmarks of a person who manufacturers or sells drugs.

This case is unusual in terms of quantity, but a common thread runs through all situations like it. The perpetrator doesn’t usually have just meth in his possession; prescription drugs – usually obtained illegally – are often part of the haul. Significant quantities of cash, plus paraphernalia and substances used in the manufacture of drugs, are typically seized by authorities as well.

Regular readers of the Daily Press have noticed that many “meth cooks” seem to be repeat offenders. They may bond out and reoffend before the original cases ever get to trial. Or sometimes, thanks to the efforts of good attorneys, they may appear to get off the hook a few times before anything serious happens.

Everyone knows how plea bargains work, and that’s sometimes how dealers wind up back on the streets. Sometimes folks vouch for them, and they paint themselves as one-time offenders – desperados who wouldn’t have done it if not for the dire circumstances in their lives. And then there are the chronic, habitual offenders with ill intent – those who will continue to put poison on the streets as long as a set of prison bars doesn’t preclude them from doing so.

Meth is not just a harmless recreational drug, like the label many otherwise law-abiding folks would pin on marijuana. Its reputation for destruction is not a byproduct of discredited studies and propaganda films like “Reefer Madness.” The consequences go far beyond the “munchies” and a lackadaisical attitude.

Meth addicts almost always lie and steal, and they often kill. Just ask the family of OHP Trooper Rocky Eales, who was killed during a drug task force raid in 1999. Or ask his partner, John “Buddy” Hamilton, who was seriously wounded but survived the attack.

Meth makes its users paranoid. They develop sores on their skin, which they scratch relentlessly, and they eventually lose many of their teeth. They often become rail-thin and frightening to look at, though in their delusions, they may see themselves as more attractive than before they began using. They cause endless pain to their families and friends, and can’t hold down jobs. They almost always destroy themselves and everything else in their paths.

That’s not an exaggeration. Almost everyone in Cherokee County knows someone who has fallen prey to this abominable drug.

The biggest fear, for most of us, is that our children will be enticed into this trap. That’s why education is so important. Talk to your kids, and point out people who have succumbed to the allure of meth. They’re not difficult to spot. Show them news stories about addicts, so they can see the actual results of this scourge. And be vigilant. Know where your kids are and who they’re with, and watch for telltale signs. If those signs appear, get help – immediately.

When the sale of over-the-counter cold medicine was limited in Oklahoma several years ago, the manufacture of meth dropped off considerably, and many people thought it would be a thing of the past. The law enforcement community knew better. There will always be a new precursor, or a new method - like the “shake-and-bake” labs that consist of a few chemicals and a plastic bottle.

There may be a day when meth is no longer a problem, but it’s not on the near horizon. In the meantime, we must protect ourselves and our loved ones.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Priorities on public school spending may be skewed in Oklahoma

    There’s no question that public schools in Cherokee County boast some good administrators. Innovative programming, cutting-edge technology, creative spending strategies and successful students are among their hallmarks. But when comparing their salaries side-by-side with those of teachers, who establish the firm foundation of our children’s futures, it also appears some administrators may be overpaid.

    August 1, 2014

  • Tourism Council and chamber should cut the proverbial cord

    They are defined by two separate purposes and operate under two distinctive sets of bylaws, but years of conflicting opinions have left lingering questions and confusion over the relationship between the decades-old Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and the younger Tahlequah Area Tourism Council.

    July 30, 2014

  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

Poll

Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Stocks