11 out of 10 (it's true!) "Heartlanders" prefer Meth over Pot

Certain realities fly in the face of public relations myths so violently that all that's left after the collision is a collective "WHAT?!!" That's because, inevitably, reality bites even those who believe the words they're fed to stoke their egos and deem what they see in plain sight a product of their own lying eyes.

Debates about values are one such matter. The "heartland" (whatever that means) has been pounded into America's collective psyche as a place on a map that holds all that is pure, fair, hard-working, law-abiding, faithful and patriotic. The coastal states are portrayed as being occupied by unpatriotic, lazy intellectuals whose drug induced lack of awareness of all that is good allows homosexuality to thrive and God to be defied.

These are not even good caricatures. They define, by defying, the innate individuality of every single American. These simplistic definitions might fit on a bumper sticker but have no business being placed on one's forehead. The tapestry of life that exists within this country must be taken in through eyes which see, not eyes that are told what they're supposed to be seeing.

Since the word "tolerance" has taken such a beating by certain segments of the truly spiteful, the phrase "co-existence" should be used. After all, it's a much better description for what we, as Americans, are- a group of people who by birth, by chance, and by choice have been thrown together in the hopes of forming a more perfect Union.

Any rejection of that central theme runs the very dire risk of burying our collective heads in the sand and allowing problems to fester until they are out of control. To illustrate, consider 'values', the 'heartland', and abiding by the law and compare it to the following article which appeared on the BBC NEWS, but can also be found in a myriad of American publications such as USA Today and other news venues:

Rural US gripped by meth epidemic

Methamphetamine has overtaken cocaine as the biggest drug problem in rural and small towns in the US, according to a crime survey of 45 states. A survey of 500 county law enforcement agencies found meth-related arrests had gone up over the past three years.

More than half of the police, sheriff departments and other agencies polled said the highly addictive substance was their biggest drug problem. Less than 20% singled out cocaine and fewer still pointed to marijuana.

Highly addictive

Methamphetamine is a chemical variant of amphetamine with much more powerful effects.

Sold as powder, tablets or crystals
Can be snorted, smoked, injected or swallowed
Can alter personality; increase blood pressure and damage brain
Abuse is particularly bad in rural areas

It is easy to produce using chemicals found on farms, and the homemade labs which produce it are less easy to detect in the countryside. The findings are based on figures collated from rural and suburban areas and do not include most of the country's largest cities.

Half of the counties surveyed said 20% of people in their jails were there because of meth-related crimes. In some places it accounts for more than 50% of people detained, and law enforcement officials say burglaries, domestic violence and assaults have increased because of it.

The problem started in the northwestern US, but it is moving east - and it is now having what the Washington-based National Association of Counties (Naco) calls a "devastating" effect on communities nationwide. "Methamphetamine abuse is mainly a rural and suburban problem but it is slowly moving to the cities," Naco research director Jacqueline Byers told the BBC news website.

Children also suffer from neglect and abuse of addicted parents or carers, and from the side effects of the drug being produced in their homes.


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