Let It Slide?

Chad William Forber

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?

Sources(s): Huffington Post, Quad-City Times, NIDA, DEA

~ Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

73 thoughts on “Let It Slide?”

  1. Woosty:

    No, I don’t think we should legalize everything in one fell swoop.
    That is principled, but not necessary.

    But the inequities and injustices made upon people for what is essentially a health care policy issue turned criminal justice problem, needs to be stopped.

    I would say decriminalize over a period of 4 years, and let non-violent drug ‘offenders’ have an opportunity to petition for release.

    If we are as a nation going to spend massive amounts of money on this problem, then let it be toward a direction of assisting those who hurt themselves, not hurting them more by criminal sanctions.

  2. I lost a friend about ten, fifteen years ago who had been addicted to tobacco when he was a young recruit in the US Army. He had been sent over, at age 18, to Europe, during WWII, and he was one of the troops who liberated Dachau. His job was to go out into the surrounding areas, bring in the locals, and force them to tour the camp, to let them know what had been going on there (as if they didn’t know). He was given FREE CIGARETTES. He was hooked almost immediately of course. He died of cancer 60 years later.

    People I know who know a little bit about the diamond mines in South Africa have told me that all the workers get free marijuana. Why? Keeps them mellow. They work harder, more willingly, longer, without complaint, without problems, if they get high on breaks every few hours.

    I haven’t done the research to find out much more about many of the other drugs that are available (legally or illegally) in the world. But I believe that to a significant degree, the drugs that we allegedly have a “war against” are the drugs that the society has provided for the pacification and the numb-ification of large masses of people who would otherwise be a bit harder to control.

    Were it not for the illegal drugs, how could we fill these prisons?

  3. Gary T
    1, August 12, 2012 at 10:59 am

    so do you think we should just de-criminalize everything in one fell swoop?

    what about treatment? for those already addicted…for those who become addicted because of imposed socio-economic conditions imposed on them un-wittingly or that THEY did not agree to? Right now I know an awful lot of people who don’t even have healthcare….street drugs often start out being a self-medicating solution that then turns into a problem….or is every problem just something that each hardy individual mst conquer of their own innate strength and resource, against all odds and with no other recourse?

  4. “The reality is that there is an “addictive personality” in some people that could have many root causes. Some of it is “brain wiring”, some of it is an intolerable environment and some of it is “self medication” for those with severe mental illness. ……
    …..The extent of the hypocrisy can be seen in the concept of the “Methadone Program”, whose “dirty little secrets” include that this “alternative”
    gets the user high and is itself far more addictive than the “illegal” drugs it is meant to replace.”Mike Spindell
    There is a genetically activated addictive personality….it is rampant in the Halls of Power right now….addiction to control….addiction to money…addiction to oil blah blah blah….the biggest crimes are being committed by the biggest addicts in the world right now. Methodone does not ‘treat’ the addict as much as it lets him/her remain in the world at large…not committing crimes on others and perhaps, if they are strong enuff, stabilizing and getting control of their own addiction. It is also a cleaner drug. Most importantly, from a Public health perspective, they are not using needles, carelessly discarding needles, sharing needles etc….so they are not spreading unwanted virii and blood borne pathogens into the general population. Crystal meth…have you seen what an addict looks like? They become walking talking (maybe) zombified petri dishes. And yet still there are human beings in there….


  5. Woosty, don’t know if you were asking me something or pointing something out to me.
    I am not a republican, but a libertarian.

  6. Alexander McNeely
    1, August 11, 2012 at 9:03 pm
    Can I ask, a personal question for purely personal edifications? Are you by chance a Republican?

    “All the above types, we just don’t hear about in these sensationalized stories.
    And in fact they are the majority, but it doesn’t seem that way, because there are no sensationalized stories about successful or stable users of these drugs.
    We don’t get the whole picture, only the horrible 1/40th of it.”~Gary T

  7. “Guys and gals, the solution is legalization. Give everyone a dump truck full of their favorite powder and let them go to town. If someone wants to kill themselves, I don’t care if they do it with a gun, a rope, or their favorite white powder.”


    I agree with you and have felt this way for years. I’ve had friends who were addicts who’ve died. I have created and run Drug Programs for psychiatric patients with addiction. Until my retirement I was accredited and licensed to do treat the addicted, run programs for them and to also run “drug prevention” programs. The reality is that there is an “addictive personality” in some people that could have many root causes. Some of it is “brain wiring”, some of it is an intolerable environment and some of it is “self medication” for those with severe mental illness. However, in our “war on drugs” environment, the distinction between those who are able to use drugs recreationally and those who need to be addicted to whatever, is lost in the rhetoric of false science in the service of law enforcement.

    In my experience among the most dangerous drugs available to the addictive personality is alcohol. Yet this country’s “noble experiment” with Prohibition proved to be extremely counter-productive. This is true today of the “war on drugs”, but that fact is lost on cowardly politicians who dare not protest and it is ignored by “pious moralists” who believe any pleasure is contrary to “God’s
    Plan”. The extent of the hypocrisy can be seen in the concept of the “Methadone Program”, whose “dirty little secrets” include that this “alternative”
    gets the user high and is itself far more addictive than the “illegal” drugs it is meant to replace. The added benefit to the addict of methadone is that when mixed with a drug like Xanax, the resultant “high” is the equivalent of heroin. That truth is reinforced by the amount of Xanax dealers that congregate outside of methadone clinics.

    Unfortunately, the “war on drugs” has created an industry that has grown into big business, for Law Enforcement and for Treatment. Too many jobs would be lost from legalization and their lobbying through fear to maintain their perquisites is extensive. I the end the most I ca say is that working in the drug prevention/treatment field was a experience that proved to me that I was nowhere near as smart/competent as I thought I was.

  8. “Smoke em if ya gottem.” If we encourage young and old in America to smoke tobacco and we know for a fact that it kills and tortures the user on his way to the funeral parlor, then why stop the same schmuck from indulging in any other drug?
    I would not want to sit in the back seat of that cop car after numnuts had been hauled off to jail in there.

  9. Woosty’s still a Cat said:
    1, August 11, 2012 at 11:10 am
    “The focus group in this article are those who already obtain and use the drug illegally. They are ALREADY controlled by the drug. If, as you say, IF it is most likely that ‘most’ (?) people do not suffer ill effects from this drug, they are most likely those who obtain it legally with an actual demonstrated condition or necessity for it. To use this recreationally is insane. I have seen the walking corpses it produces…they all think they are having fun and it’s doing them all kinds of good!”

    I doubt very much that most people who use meth obtain it legally.
    Notwithstanding, most people who use it, do not wind up with these horrible circumstances.

    Of the people who use it, some just don’t like it, some like it for its utilitarian reasons (remember it was and is given regularly to soldiers in endurance circumstances), others like the high but are quite aware that taking too much is just not fun at all, and there are many who try it and like it, but it becomes just another phase in their lives they don’t need anymore and stop just because.

    And there is the phenomena of the working addict, the type who are addicted to a drug, but continue to work and live their lives productively.

    All the above types, we just don’t hear about in these sensationalized stories.
    And in fact they are the majority, but it doesn’t seem that way, because there are no sensationalized stories about successful or stable users of these drugs.
    We don’t get the whole picture, only the horrible 1/40th of it.

  10. Slarti,

    I would include mushrooms on that list. However, LSD is not like those other hallucinogenics. One, it’s a synthetic and as a synthetic I’d prefer it be made under controlled lab conditions. Two, its reaction is different from the naturally occurring compounds. I think some psych screening before taking it is simply wise. Some people can benefit enormously from taking LSD. It can be an enlightening and positive life changing experience for people with the right type of personality. Others outside that range of right personality types however should never take it. Ever. They would have problems adjusting to the self-knowledge or world knowledge regarding perception gained by a positive LSD experience and/or other problems with the experience. I also think it is a substance that should be done under controlled circumstances. In a safe friendly home or natural environment where environmental stimulation can be moderated if not controlled. A first time LSD user should not consider doing something like say going to Mardi Gras and no matter what their experience they should never engage in behaviors like driving or situations that could cause sudden and startling changes in their sensory input loads as the drug is going to make them hypersensitive in the first place. That is why I think LSD should be available but require medical supervision and guidance.

  11. Some people spend a lot of time on very unhealthy things. I am learning now, health and growth expose joy previously unknown, unseen, and until found uncomprehended. Addictive drugs deliver euphoria for the price of the drug. A known euphoria, a friendly euphoria……. but one that wanes, a euphoria that must be chased harder and farther, sought more frantically, dedicatedly. And when found it is the same or less. A promise half kept, a promise unfortunately driving the addicted individual further into ill health.
    Joy found from health and life is inviolate, it is owned and always possessed. Joy found from drugs is fleeting and many run the same field over and over to find it. There are so many other fields, so much else to find and experience. The drug addicted know no such other field.

  12. Alexander, Love is sacred, Children are sacred, Protecting my children is sacred. Life is sacred, Individual experience is sacred, Growth is sacred.
    There is a dichotomy here, having children is inherent Joy, letting them go, is inherent pain. Life is a teeter totter, up and down, side to side. Balance in all, moderation in everything. Run for the roses and fall in the thorns. Aspire to the higher, do not fear the dire. They exist, they both hit with a ton of bricks. One is Joyful, One is an emptiness filled with pain. This is the teeter totter of life. Two sides, both offer lightning bolts of emotion, …..
    Straddle the middle, hold on for your life, it’s the only ride I got, and the price of admission …is Death. ….Before your nickle runs out, get your nickles worth.

  13. Just because someone was born, does not mean they have a right to stay here. We are not obligated to keep someone alive and comfortable just because your parents decided to force you into this world. Out of sympthy, I may or may not consent to helping others. But, that is my decision alone. When you threaten me with the initialization of force, you threaten me with a gun or with caging if I don’t pay my taxes to fund your anti-drug programs or welfare programs, you aren’t allowing me to consent to being governed and you’re forcing me to help keep someone alive. Well that kind of ruins the warm and fuzzy feeling you’re supposed to get when you help people.

  14. Denying, or in my case rejecting, coerced interdependence prevents people from becoming slaves to others. You do not have a right to happiness and comfort in this life. You have a right to PURSUE it. The sanctity of the individual is paramount. We are a community of interdependent individuals, yes. But we must only submit to that dependence voluntarily. We consent to be governed, we consent to join society. Otherwise it becomes slavery to the whims of others. Why should I have to defend my right to sit unmolested? The onus is on you since you wish to use force to compel me to do or not do things, whether or not it’s for the good of “society.”

  15. “…why should I accept a police state to prevent someone else from having to make tough decisions. …”

    It’s not a police state. It’s called a community, a nation, a group of people concerned about each other, their health and their future. It’s why the community provides fire protection, health care, education. Americans are NOT all individual independent contractors. We are a community of interdependent individuals. The US isn’t about me or you or I, it’s about us. Denying this fact is to deny the real and true American Exceptionalism and the reason people come here from all over the world. Denying this interdependence is the heart of what’s wrong with conservatism. Conservatism is the exaltation of selfishness and greed. It is not the foundation of the American experience and continued acceptance of this failed philosophy by more than three or four right wing radicals could destroy our nation from within.

  16. You want to know what I think? I think I’m lazy so I’m just going to agree with you completely on this one. Although I am curious as to why we think that LSD should require a prescription while peyote and mescaline don’t (and what about mushrooms—how do you feel about fungus?)

    Great article.

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