Since methamphetamine first made its debut onto the world stage in the 1980s, it has remained an epidemic across the city - continuing to be the No. 1 drug of choice due to its high purity and availability.
Battery acid, drain cleaner and antifreeze are just a few of the ingredients in this man-made, deadly drug that has users coming back for more because of the way it stimulates the nervous system, giving them a feeling of intense satisfaction.
Since December 2013, 109 people have been arrested with methamphetamine in Stephenville, many of which were associated with a drug ring that originated in Stephenville.
“That was a Stephenville PD and DEA joint task force (operation) and the main distribution point was in Stephenville,” said Lt. Don Miller, with the Stephenville Police Department’s criminal investigations and narcotics division. “As we made arrests here, it then branched out into the Metroplex.”
Miller said that meth users typically range between 30-40 years of age.
“If you’re a meth addict, you’re not going to live much longer past 50 years,” he said.
Back in the 1980s methamphetamine was cooked locally in labs using the readily available products. The most Miller has seen during that time was around 100 pounds.
“We had big meth labs throughout the county and all over rural Texas,” he said.
It was then that pseudoephedrine - an over-the-counter decongestant - was banned due to its primary use in making the drug. Miller said that now most of the drug is smuggled across the Mexico border and distributed to dealers in Texas.
To combat meth usage, Stephenville police team up with the DEA and use undercover officers and criminal informants to seek out meth dealers.
“Primarily what we utilize are criminal informants - that’s somebody who will get arrested for drugs and to lessen their sentence, they’ll go out and work for us,” he said.
The process becomes a chain reaction in catching more and more of those selling meth.
“People who get arrested generally are very quick to want to work for us in consideration for their cases,” Miller said.
Another thing that’s linked to meth and other drugs, is burglaries. Users need money to get their next fix.
“When we did our last round-up, our burglaries went down to almost zero,” Miller said.
The effects of using methamphetamine are debilitating and vary from person to person depending on long-term or short-term use and how it’s used - smoking, injecting or snorting.
Long-term effects include permanent damage to blood vessels of the heart and brain, tooth decay, malnutrition, disorientation, psychosis, memory loss and death.
“Any police officer can look at someone and say, ‘that's a meth user,’” Miller said.