by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger
“There’s a party in my mind…And it never stops
There’s a party up there all the time…They’ll party till they drop
Other people can go home…Other people they can split
I’ll be here all the time…I can never quit.”
– “Memories Can’t Wait” by Talking Heads, written by David Byrne and Jerry Harrison
As previously discussed here at Res Ispa Loquitur, some fashion choices can be downright criminal. This time our contestant on Felony Runaway Fashions is Chad William Forber, 41, from Blue Grass, Illinois. Like our previous encounter with those who have a daring fashion sense, there is no probative legal analysis of this case and no pressing civil rights issue. Just
good clean fun(ny facts). Also some not so funny (alleged) drug use. This time our designer’s drug of choice was methamphetamines. There is nothing funny about meth. Nothing at all.
On Monday, August 7th, 2012, police officers in Rock Island, Illinois, responded to the call of a naked man at 3:27 a.m. walking in the 2200 block of 3rd Avenue. When they arrived at the scene, they found Mr. Forber, walking down the street, naked, his shorts in hand. He told the responding officers that he had taken off his shorts because they were too big and would not stay on. It’s what he opted to wear instead of his shorts that is interesting enough to make even Tim Gunn pay attention. According to Rock Island Deputy Chief of Police Jeff VenHuizen, Forber had “lathered himself up in Crisco [Cooking Spray]. He was covered in grease, and was holding the can under his arm.” But wait! There’s more.
“He said he was looking for a place to party,” VenHuizen added.
His party abruptly stopped when the Rock Island P.D. took him in to custody. He was charged with possession of methamphetamine, resisting or obstructing a peace officer and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $40,000, he’s currently residing in the Rock Island County Jail and his case is assigned to the Public Defender’s Office. In a bit of good luck for Forber, the charge of lewd exposure was dismissed.
While all of this is intrinsically funny as a situation, the methamphetamines they found in Forber’s short’s pocket are not funny in the slightest. Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant drug that is classified as a Schedule II drug. Although prescribed by physicians, its uses are limited and the dosage of legitimate prescriptions are small compared to the typical dosages of abusers. It can be snorted, smoked or injected and it works by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. Much of the supply of this drug isn’t from pharmaceutical labs, but rather from home labs that are inherently dangerous and pose environmental hazards and health risks to both workers and anyone unfortunate enough to live near an illegal meth lab. Because of this “home cooking”, the drug also has the added danger of unpredictable side effects due to adulteration of the “product”. Short term use of the drug can cause increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and hyperthermia. Chronic use of the drug can cause emotional and cognitive problems which can be long lasting if not permanent including psychotic features like paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions. Add to this extreme weight loss, severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behavior. It is one of the fastest growing illicit drug trades in the country today. In 1986, the DEA seized approximately 235 kilograms (518 pounds) of meth. In 2011, the DEA seized approximately 2,451 kilograms (5,404 pounds) of meth. It has become so prevalent in society that one of the most successful series on cable is “Breaking Bad”, a serio-comic drama about cancer patient Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who spirals out of control from a man reluctantly looking to provide for his family when he’s gone to full blown criminal drug lord.
On a personal note, I have one cousin who escaped meth addiction but not unscathed. He’s as mad as a hatter in addition to having numerous other health problems and is permanently disabled. I also had the disappointing news recently that two more cousins from another branch of the family have fallen under its vile thrall. It is a substance that I personally consider evil without reservation and that is a term I try to apply very narrowly. I am for the reform of our drug laws including the legalization of certain substances, but methamphetamines are not one of them. I don’t think anyone in their right minds would consider this a drug that should be legalized after seeing the effects it has on people. It is physically and psychologically addictive and does horrible ancillary damage to the body.
It’s all very entertaining as television, but the reality is even more grim, violent and deadly than “Breaking Bad” could ever portray without driving away audience.
But is it wise to treat addiction as criminal matter rather than a health matter? Can we let methamphetamine users slide? Can we let methamphetamine production and distribution slide? Should law enforcement focus time and resources on manufactures and distributors and leave the addicts to the medical profession? Decriminalize possession for addicts but increase penalties for manufacture and distribution?
What do you think?
~ Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger