Meth = Death
A lot of teens from Watsonville High School use
methamphetamine, or “meth”. They’re students with good
grades and bad grades; some are involved in gangs
while others are not. I’ve seen meth before but I’ve
never tried it and I don’t want to.
Meth is a popular drug in Santa Cruz County and across
the country. It is made from household things like rat
poison, pool cleaner, fertilizer and cough syrup. It
is highly addictive and drives people to crime. Meth
is the most popular drug in Watsonville and might be
the most popular drug in all of Santa Cruz County,
according to Rich Westphal, task force supervisor for
the Santa Cruz County Narcotic Enforcement Team.
“The meth problem in Santa Cruz County is very
troubling,” Westphal said. “It’s readily available. If
someone wants to buy a $20 bag its easy to find.”
Westphal said that meth is “readily accessible to
teens” and that there are a lot of meth labs in Santa
Cruz county. This year, three to four meth labs have
already been busted in Santa Cruz County.
Meth, also called speed, chalk, ice, crystal, glass,
and Tina, is a bigger problem than cocaine, marijuana
or heroin for most communities in the U.S., according
to a survey of law enforcement agencies in 500
counties by the National Association of Counties. The
survey found that meth is the number one illegal drug
problem for law enforcement agencies in 58% of
For teenager Raquel Marks, who used to be addicted to
meth, it was easier for her to get meth than alcohol.
“Meth is by far the most dangerous drug that I’ve
done,” Marks said. “It’s really easy to get and you
feel like you can conquer the world when you’re high.
It’s one of those drugs where when you do it, nothing
matters. You can be stealing from people, robbing a
house, shooting at people and it just doesn’t matter;
everything is so surreal when you’re using meth.
You’re on top of the world and nothing can phase you.”
Meth can be smoked, injected into a vein, or snorted.
Once taken, the “high” can last for up to eight hours.
During the “high”, a user can experience increased
wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased
appetite, increased respiration, hyperthermia, and
euphoria. The dangers of meth include increased heart
rate and blood pressure, respiratory problems,
irregular heartbeat, extreme anorexia, and
irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain that
can produce strokes. Meth use can result in
cardiovascular collapse and death.
Many teens do not realize the harmful effects that
meth can cause. And, most of them don’t even know how
fast they can get hooked on this intense drug.