There's a new version of an old drug that is hitting the streets. Meth drug dealers are now turning their attention toward children.
Ryan Dearbone decided to take a look at just how dangerous this drug is and if your child could come face-to-face with it in the near future.
"Meth in itself is probably one of the most dangerous drugs that we have dealt with in our 10 year history and in my 35 year career in law enforcement," said Tommy Loving, drug task force director.
Methamphetamine has been on the streets for years in one form or another, but its the drugs latest form that could be its deadliest.
The drug is now being marketed towards children as a candy. Warren East High School student Andrew White said he doesn't know much about this new form of meth, but he does know one thing.
"I've heard one thing about it - that it looks just like pop rocks," White said.
Drug dealers are putting taste and colors in their product to give them the look and taste of flavored candy. Drug enforcement officers have seen meth in flavors of chocolate, cola and other soda-flavors. The most popular version is strawberry or strawberry quick as its more commonly referred to.
Drug dealers are hoping that by making candy-flavored meth look like a children's candy, they can entice your child to become their next customer.
"It does look just like pop rocks, and as you know most kids are really into that hard candy scenario. If that child ingests that to any degree. It could be fatal to them," said Joe Jakub with Reach for you Dreams, which is a program to keep kids of drugs.
Despite being the number one illegal drug in America, drug officials said the reason for this candy flavored meth is to push up slipping drug sales among teenagers.
According to the substance abuse and mental health services administration, the number of first time meth users aged 12 and older decreased from 300,000 in 2004 to 190,000 in 2005.
"Their target, needless to say, is getting lower and lower in age brackets. Candy-flavored meth is a good indicator of that," Jakub said.
The addition of flavor to the drug is also making the drug more popular because the flavoring can cut down on meth's normally bitter taste.
"I think its horrible. That's the way to get kids to try something, if you're going to give them something that tastes good, something that they're familiar with," mother Christy Brock said.
"I think its pretty scary because I liked pop rocks as a kid, so I know kids that age would like the taste of it and the way it pops in your mouth and not realize its drugs inside of it," mother Stacce Wyatt said.
While the drug may give off the impression that its a candy there is a sign that may say otherwise.
"They say the odor of methamphetamine is still there, but as far as the child knowing, I don't really think they would," Jakub said.
Loving said the drug is coming both from inside the United States and abroad.
"It's coming in through Mexican drug cartels across the border like 80 percent of the other drugs in this country," Loving said.
He also notes that because of the newness of this candy-flavored meth, law enforcement agencies throughout the nation don't know a whole lot about it. What law enforcement officials do know is that as of now there have been no cases of candy-flavored meth reported in our area. So far the only cases reported have been on the western coast of the country.
Loving and Jakub both believe that while the upstart drug isn't here yet, its' really only a matter of time until we see it. Although candy-flavored meth is surging in popularity among teens, colored meth is nothing new.
In the past two years, law enforcement in Missouri has had to crack down on blue-colored meth called smurf dope that had begun to circulate the area. Colors have been used to advertise or brand which meth is the best.
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