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the Twin Cities

BEST CHEAP THRILL

Meth

Granted, meth (or crank or ice or glass or tweak or whatever else you call it) has wreaked horrendous damage on families and communities across Minnesota. Between the blizzard of scare stories in the media, the proliferation of those nasty "Life or Meth" billboards on the freeways, and the batch of harsh new meth laws passed by the legislature, Minnesotans seem to have come into collective understanding: meth is the evilest drug ever. Actually, not everyone agrees on this point. As it turns out, there are still plenty of enthusiasts in Minnesota. They value the drug for one reason: It provides a cheap thrill. Whatever else you want to say about meth, you can't deny that. In the "bang for the buck" category, meth blows away rival stimulants. At 80 to a hundred bucks a gram, a user (though not a high-tolerance addict) can stay energized for days on a single score. Before you have conniptions about the social costs associated with the meth abuse, we'll reiterate: It would have been best had meth not been invented. But remember this as well: In terms of overall social harm, meth still pales in comparison to the perfectly legal (and very lethal) drug of choice for most Minnesotans, alcohol. By the way, you've probably heard that a meth habit is all but impossible to kick. That does not seem to be the case. According to a study of 952 patients at the Hazelden treatment center, there was "no difference in outcomes between meth users and non-meth using patients as measured by continuous abstinence rates one year after treatment, satisfaction with psychosocial function, and satisfaction with health functioning."

UPDATE: Editor's note on Best Cheap Thrill item

UPDATE: Best Cheap Thrill: a postscript and, yes, an apology

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