These meth users had stories to tell |

These meth users had stories to tell

Until I began my research for “Damaged Housewives,” today’s in-depth look at the use of methamphetamine among women, I didn’t know the first thing about the drug.

I knew that it was a nasty substance, that it would rot out your teeth and leave you looking emaciated and haggard, but that was about it.

From that, I assumed that the women I would be spending time with in the Nevada and Placer County jails would be a bunch of burned out criminals just itching for their next fix.

But I was wrong. What I found behind bars were women who were very different. Many of them were white, wealthy and educated. They played sports in college, put their husbands through school, owned their homes and businesses. They vacationed with their families and joined the PTA.

And then someone ” a sister or a friend ” offered them the cure-all drug: methamphetamine. That little dose that boosts energy and productivity with the added bonus of appetite suppression. And presto! The dishes, and ironing, and diaper changing and love making could all happen in the same day with energy to spare.

For about a month. And then everything hops a high-speed train to hell, as addicts will also tell you.

There are more people seeking treatment for meth addiction than any other drug in California, surpassing alcohol and heroin, and nearly 50 percent of users are women, compared to just 30 percent for other drugs.

Use in Nevada and Placer counties has largely been on the west side, but law enforcement officials say that it is steadily creeping up the hill and when it finally saturates Truckee and the North Shore, the results will not be pretty.

“It’s not so prevalent here that I can drive down the street and point to people, but it’s here,” said Truckee police Detective Robert Womack. “Probably over 90 percent of our property crimes can be attributed to drugs, and it is hard to fight at the department because everyone in town knows what I look like and what car I drive.”

Police say that the best way to fight the drug’s invasion locally is to stay in contact.

“Part of our problem is that our deputies live in Reno, they live in Auburn, they live in Loyalton, where they can afford a houses,” said Placer County Sheriff Edward Bonner. “Whereas if you’re going to the store, or you’re picking up your kids from school, you’re aware of a lot more stuff. We need citizens to engage us in casual conversation.”

And, now that we all know a bit more about this drug, the conversation can begin.

Christine Stanley is a reporter with the Sierra Sun. Contact her at

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