"Meth really is the mother of all drugs. It's the cheapest, dirtiest and most powerful drug in existence today. It's also the fastest spreading. Meth doesn't kill its addicts immediately. The process is slow, during which it takes an extreme physical and psychological toll. Meth literally rots people's bodies—teeth, face and insides. Frankly, I was appalled by how ugly it made frequent users.
I explored the impact meth is having on societies in Portland, Omaha and Bangkok. The reasons people start using the drug differ from city to city.
In Portland, I was shocked to learn that 80 percent of that city's prisons hold people on meth-related charges. Whether the charges are for drug dealing, identity theft or armed robbery, somehow they are connected to meth. Portland's hospitals are overwhelmed by patients admitted for meth abuse. I've always considered Portland to be one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S., but meth's impact on it has been tremendously ugly.
But there is hope. Addicts can recover. I had the privilege of meeting a man in Portland who is six months into recovery. His name is Kobe. Kobe was very good looking, smart and athletic when he got addicted. But meth nearly destroyed his life. I was amazed after I heard his story that he was even alive. The most poignant part of his story was that his parents, who are loving and middle class, told me what a relief it was to learn that he had been arrested and jailed ... because that meant they knew where he was and that he was alive."