What are the signs of illicit drug activity?

This is a discussion on What are the signs of illicit drug activity? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; It looks like the local area has a meth problem. Anywhere, anytime I guess even here in Vermont. Two meth labs have been secured in ...

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Thread: What are the signs of illicit drug activity?

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array morintp's Avatar
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    What are the signs of illicit drug activity?

    It looks like the local area has a meth problem. Anywhere, anytime I guess even here in Vermont. Two meth labs have been secured in the town that borders mine, and a third site was secured in the town that borders both my town and the town where the first two labs were found. My town has been having quite a few break ins over the past few years, and I guess this explains it.

    A comment on a local forum I belong to made me want to ask this question here, where we have so many experienced LEO's. A forum member there said:

    When I was going through the security clearance process for my current job with DHS, the investigator who came to town quickly concluded that some activity she had seen strongly indicated illicit drugs.
    I must be living under a rock or something because I've lived in this town for 3 years and wondered what would make the investigator say that about our town. What are the signs that an experienced person coming into a town would notice as illicit drug activity? I'm assuming that the person didn't know about the break ins, and was only from personal observations.

    This is a small, rural town with a population of around 4,000, and we do not have youth congregating (unless it's a baseball or football game) or any gang type activity. The kids (teens included) are very respectful. On the surface it seems like a great place to raise our kids. I'm not saying that there aren't some bad apples around, every town has one or two. But what clues would a person that only spent an hour or two in town see in order to make a comment like that?
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    Member Array dropped_71chevy's Avatar
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    How is the economy there?

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    Distinguished Member Array morintp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dropped_71chevy View Post
    How is the economy there?
    It's pretty good. We have a good median income for the area. The homes are mostly in the upper price ranges. Its a small town, no traffic lights, no supermarket, no slums or ghetto's, houses are not run-down looking. There are some businesses in town but nothing huge. Three convenience stores/deli's, a bakery, two banks, post office, video store, pharmacy, hardware store, auto repair, several farms.
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    Senior Member Array Rob P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morintp View Post
    What are the signs of illicit drug activity?

    I dunno, maybe the locals speak a special drug lingo?

    Like, hey, wow, man.

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    Senior Member Array Tala's Avatar
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    Meth users can usually be recognized by the way that they look. Cops are trained to look for those things.

    They don't drug test where I work, but we do have an ex-narcotics LEO working for us.....he can identify the druggies, and most of the managers never have a clue!!
    I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them. -- John Wayne as John B. Books in "The Shootist"

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    Member Array Josephus's Avatar
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    If your neighbor has a lot of visitors in 20 minute increments.
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    Rural locations are prime areas for meth cookers. They need anhydrous ammonia to make the stuff. They also need over the counter sinus meds like Sudafed. The LEO's usually know about theft of anhydrous ammonia from a farmer's tank. They might also get information from pharmacies about someone buying large quantities of sinus meds. It also smells when cooking. I have seen before and after pictures of meth users. It is not a pretty sight.
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    Member Array GlockLobster's Avatar
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    That LEO is totally talking out of their butt, seriously. I could make that exact same statement for 95% of small towns in the US and be right as well-Meth is everywhere! And luckily for us yankees there hasn't been the epidemic when compared to the southwest, midwest or west. I'm sure if you saw something your town that didn't look right, it's probably not right. Oxycontin/presciption meds/herion meds are bigger (and cheaper) problems for northern NE states.

    Meth addict behavior is pretty obvious and meth smokers are even more obvious (search for meth mouth, before you eat)- but for most occassional users you'll have a hard time seeing it. If your lucky you can see burnt fingertips or an infection at a injection sites. But no one is psychic and can "feel" drug activity-especially in a small VT town just by showing up. If there's open dealing, a lab or two found, a bunch of stick ups/theft/break ins, that would be one thing. IN VT, you cannot purchase large amounts of pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) over the counter as a consumer.

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    Distinguished Member Array bladenbullet's Avatar
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    this site has some information regarding use by regions/states...its a growing enterprise..

    http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k6/statemeth/stateMeth.htm

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    You live in a town of 4000, so most people either know each other or may even be related to each other. It ought to be easy to spot outsiders.

    Look for strangers that appear out of place. Meth users are nervous, they fidget a lot, they don't like to make eye contact for very long. Advanced users look pale, gaunt, unhealthy. They are skinny, have sores all over them. Their hair is brittle, dull,no body to it all, they may have very thin or even bare spots on various locations around their head. Their gums are drawn up and their teeth may be missing, rotten, or in a generally terrible state. Their breath stinks. They stink because they quit caring about personal hygiene a long time ago. They may smell like vomit or a toilet bowl that hasn't been flushed in days. Some of them cant really even carry on an intelligent conversation.

    Many of them are chain smokers, its a nervous habit. They may not eat for days at a time, then when they do decide to eat they act like they have never eaten. Some lose the will to eat because it makes them sick and they look like walking skeletons. They only have one motivation in life and that is to get another fix. Some will stop at nothing. They will do what they must do to keep from feeling terrible.

    Advance users will go on a binge and not sleep for several days. Periods of no sleep for up to two weeks are not unheard of. Thses periods of no sleep cause irreparable damage to their brains, eyesight, hearing, kidney function. Their livers go on overload and liver or kidney failure can be the death of them. When they do get to sleep, they may sleep for days at a time, going into such a deep sleep that it resembles a coma. They will puke.urinate or defecate on themselves while sleeping and be completely unaware. Relatives of their will often call the police or an ambulance, under the mistaken impression that they are dead, when in fact they are not.

    Look into their eyes. Most of them have what we call the 1000 yard stare. It's a look of desperation and hopelessness. They look like the walking dead, because that basically what they are. It is absolutely the worst state that a human being can live in and to the casual observer it looks and smells terrible.

    The early users of course wont be that way. Once they start using, they try to hid it. They will never spend more than a few minutes at the source, choosing to spend as less time there as possible, stopping long enough only to make the deal. They become extremely paranoid, because they know they are doing wrong and don't want anyone to know. When they are "tweaking" as it is called when they are experiencing the effects, they act irrationally, they may stutter or talk at a very high rate of speed, their muscles involuntarily contract and "tweak", they may have dry mouth or they may be drooling all over them selves.

    If you have ever smelled Meth, you wont ever forget it. The only description that I can think of that one would understand is that it smells like cat pee. I've walked into homes and apartments that were so strong with that scent that it brought tears to my eyes. Where ever it is cooked it gets into the carpet, the furniture, the paint on the walls. When discovered, a HAZ MAT team will come and completely renovate an apartment or a home because it becomes a HAZ MAT site until it is properly cleaned up. The carpet must be changed, walls painted, furniture removed, it is often an expensive process.

    I've been to a few seminars put on by the DEA and they never cease to amaze me. Some of the stories they tell would have the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Burns victims, explosions, the poor state of humanity that one can exist in. Its the worst thing to ever hit the United States and its easy enough to make that it can be made anywhere. Most people start out making it for their own use and then sell whatever they don't need at the moment.

    What people don't understand is this. It affects all walks of life. Doctors, Judges,Lawyers,Cops,your grandmother. No one is immune from the effects. The bad thing about it is that is makes you feel SO good that you don't want the feeling to end.
    You hear better, see better,smell better, its like you are on a wild adrenaline ride. The problem is, when you crash you crash hard. You feel like you are about to die and some people convince themselves that they are. You look for another fix just to get yourself out of that valley that you are in. The next hit makes you feel so good. And the cycle begins...

    Meth users have the lowest rate of recuperation out of all drugs users. It is very difficult to quit. People often lose everything they have, their homes, their jobs, their loved ones that they have alienated or stolen from or abused in some form.

    Watch for a place, a house, a business that there is alot of traffic in. People that go in, and come out a few minutes later.People that are always looking over their shoulders and people that display an above average fear of the Police. See if you can get a whiff of that smell that often permeates everything.

    Its everywhere. Every city, every town,every one dog stop. Its made in kitchens, back yards, abandoned vehicles, they even move the labs around, they are called mobile meth labs. There is even a method for cooking underground to avoid detection by normal methods.

    Keep your eyes open. If its there, you'll figure it out. The labs can be extremely dangerous, as they use highly explosive chemicals such as ether or carburetor fluid in the process. Stay away from them if you suspect it and call the law. They'll know what to do. If its in an apartment they will probably evacuate it until it is decontaminated.
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  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array morintp's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys. Not much of this stuff going on, unless they are stealing anhydrous ammonia from one of the two dozen farms in town. We do have one local guy that acts like a meth head, but he's just mentally challenged.
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