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Meth = Death
Author: Cesar Froylán

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 
counties surveyed. 
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.