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Meth is the commonly known name for the highly addictive drug methamphetamine. It is also referred to as crystal meth when it is in the form of crystals. The drug can also be in powder form. In very small amounts, meth can be used to treat conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy. Therefore, meth can be used legally when obtained with a prescription. However, methamphetamine is considered a ‘controlled substance’. As such, the possession, sale or manufacture of meth is against the law. given the many health and safety problems caused by meth on those who use and manufacture it, such stringent measures are necessary.
The increased fight against meth comes at a time when its use has dramatically increased in the last two decades. Today, it is referred to as the ‘meth epidemic’. Many governments including the United States have passed laws carrying severe penalties for any persons convicted of offense that involve illegal possession, sale and manufacture of methamphetamine. Asia, Oceania and the United States are the most prevalent parts of the world for illegal methamphetamine.
Understanding What Meth Is
Many drugs like cocaine and marijuana are derived from plants. However, meth is derived from chemicals. Methamphetamine is combined into a white powdery or rock-like substance which can be smoked, snorted or injected. The rock-like nature is why meth is often called crystal meth. Other names used to refer to meth are ice, crank and speed.
Low to moderate doses of meth are effective in elevating mood, increasing alertness, concentration and energy for fatigued individuals. It also reduces appetite and promotes weight loss. In high doses, meth induced psychosis, muscular tissue breakdown, seizures and brain hemorrhage. Chronic use of meth is deadly, causing complete mental breakdown and severe paranoia, delirium and hallucinations.
Manufacturing meth is quite a dangerous process. It involves the use of explosive and noxious chemicals which are not only hazardous to humans but also to the environment. Structures that have been used to manufacture meth such as apartments and homes need intense detoxification or are just torn down. Tearing down such structures is safer and cheaper than refurbishing.
As mentioned, meth is a manufactured drug. Therefore, governments outlaw meth possession and manufacture as well as possession of chemicals used in its manufacture. These chemicals are known as meth ‘precursors’. Besides chemicals, other items such as scales and balances used in the manufacturing process, often termed as paraphernalia are also illegal.
Prosecuting Meth Users
In convicting individuals, defendants can be found guilty of possessing meth for personal consumption or for sale if the prosecutor proves that they knew what they were possessing was meth. It is also easy for prosecutors to convict individuals who possess precursors with the intention of manufacturing meth. For instance, the federal law states that defendants can be prosecuted if the prosecutor is able to convince the jury that they knew the items they possessed would be used to make meth.
Many times, you will find that those convicted with possession of meth will try to excuse it as a prescription. Other times, defendants may claim that the drugs belonged to somebody else. Those caught with meth with the intention to sell will often claim it was for personal use to avoid hefty penalties.
Generally, the penalty for meth possession, sale or manufacture varies based on where the case is prosecuted. For instance, every state in the US has its own sentencing provisions. Nevertheless, federal charges carry the same penalties regardless of where the crime was committed in the country. There are various categories of penalties for a meth conviction. One, a meth conviction can result in a fine. It can also result in a misdemeanor jail term or a lengthy prison term. Most convictions are based on the amount of meth possessed. The amount is usually determined by the weight of the drug possessed. Expectedly, the greater the amount of meth possessed, the longer the sentence. Greater penalties are also given to defendants convicted of not only possessing meth but also having the intent to sell or traffic it.
According to federal law, simply possessing meth attracts a conviction of not more than one year. On the other hand, any person caught with even 5 grams of meth and intended to distribute it can be sentenced to at least 5 years in prison. 50 grams of meth with the intent to sell attracts a jail term of 10 years.
A meth crime is a serious charge especially since governments are intensifying efforts against meth sale and distribution. The illegality of meth is not applicable only in the US but also all over the world. The United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty places meth in schedule II drugs. Consequently, it is internationally restricted or banned to produce, distribute, sell or possess meth.
The potent nature of meth makes its one of the most vicious drugs on the market. It is a highly addictive substance and once a person gets hooked, it takes over their life completely. A meth addict feels unable to survive without meth in their system which makes them completely aloof of their social and family responsibilities. The state of a meth addict is a pitiable one. Given the increasing number of deaths from meth overdoses, most governments are cracking down on all illegal transactions involving meth.
It is important for collaboration and continuous effort to fight the meth pandemic that is slowly scorching the West and Europe. As years pass by, more and more countries are also facing the same challenge. This calls for more actionable progress in fighting meth manufacture, sale and distribution at all levels of government and at a global level. Combating the meth addiction is not going to be an easy task. This is mainly because destroyed meth labs have a tendency of cropping back up again. Nevertheless, with consistency and increased crack-downs, governments will be able to slow down if not stop the spread of meth addiction in the society and the world.
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