Thursday, January 03, 2008

#1 Story on for 2007: Strawberry Meth

Even though I no longer work at KY3, a story I wrote turned out to be the most clicked on story on for 2007...and by a long shot. It's a story about strawberry meth, and so I think it's worth discussing.
Strawberry meth was #1 with 295,000 page views; the second most clicked on story was about a Christmas tree controversy at Missouri State with 97,000 page views.

The story was very interesting because I remember getting a lot of emails about it from across the country. I remember one teacher emailing me from North Dakota or Wyoming (can't remember), asking me if she could put the story in her school newsletter. I think I remember strawberry meth supposedly making its way quickly to the area, and that's why people were so interested.

Strawberry meth is apparently flavored to taste like strawberries... the Community Partnership of the Ozarks was concerned about we did the story... but I can't help but wonder if strawberry meth is real or if it is an urban legend. I've heard both. The argument has been that some meth is colored, but rarely is it flavored. I wish I knew, but I haven't done meth for a few years now, so I don't know the latest trend.
but the sad thing is that a lot of kids do meth, with or without the so-called strawberry flavoring. When I was in high school, I remember people doing "crank"...and a lot of "good" kids who turned out to be good adults. I can honestly say I never did it. I remember our biology teacher's wife getting busted for crank at her accounting office, though. How crazy. But the funny thing is that I had no idea that "crank" or "crystal" was meth until I landed my first reporting job in North Carolina. It freaked me out to know that so many of my friends had done meth. And now that I think about it, that explains a lot of their actions... So, I believe if kids were doing it when I was in high school, I'm sure they're doing it now. Actually, I hear that cocaine is more popular these days, but that's only through stories I do at work...

Anyway, here's the story I did back in March at KY3--I can't tell you that it's true that strawberry meth exists, but it is true that our local officials, at one point in time, believed it existed:

WILLARD, Mo. -- A new twist to an old drug may make it more appealing to children. It's called strawberry quick -- strawberry flavoring added to methamphetamine to make it taste more like candy -- and it's already made its appearance in the Ozarks.

The first sighting of strawberry quick was in Willard, not too far from the town's debris dumpsite. It's strawberry flavored and it could be the first of a new trend. It's causing a major buzz with law officers and community groups.

It looks like rock candy, the kind someone might buy as a treat, but there's nothing sweet about these crystals.

"It has a more user-friendly appearance, if you will,” said Capt. Randy Gibson of the Greene County Sheriff’s Department.

Strawberry quick is basically meth with pink coloring and strawberry flavoring to remove the bitter taste of just plain meth. It showed up on the west coast in mid-February and, in almost no time, wound up here.

“It was almost overnight,” said Gibson.

Greene County officers recently pulled over a car for a traffic violation and found about two grams of it in a seat. So far, detectives think it’s the only case in this area but that doesn't stop community leaders from worrying about the drug's impact on kids.

"When it's put in that kind of format, people often think it's less hazardous,” said Melissa Haddow, executive director of Community Partnership of the Ozarks. "This may appeal to kids that meth or crystal would not appeal to.”

Haddow compares it to how kids think of alcohol. Many see hard liquor, like gin, as dangerous but, at the same time, see drinks like wine coolers as safe.

"I don't know if it's deliberately targeted to kids but certainly it's going to be more palatable for kids,” said Gibson.

"I don't think it is huge right now in the Ozarks at all,” said Haddow, “but we don't want to glamorize it, that's for sure."

The Community Partnership is sending out surveys to area schools to get an idea of how bad meth is among students and to see how much they know, if anything, about strawberry quick.


Sky Girl said... has an interesting discussion about this. Nothing you haven't already said here.


and props to sky girl for the original tip to ky3... looooong before the story broke.

Michelle said...

yea! does sky girl want a job in news??


think she's smart enough to dodge that bullet, though she'd be a great grammar cop.

and hates to hear the word (verb) "bust" as much as I do. (Or any forms thereof).

Sky Girl said...

Great...I've given two tips to KY3. One was of no interest to anyone, and the other may or may not be an urban legend. And thus ended my career in journalism...

Todd said...

If Strawberry Meth does exist I think the merth makers/pushers should be shot not once but twice for peddling to children. Whats next "chocolate meth" or "baby-formula meth"?

Complaint Department Manager said...

What? No Bubble gum???

Anonymous said...

Wow. With amazing reporting like this, it's amazing these guys ever let you go to their bastard stepchild.

Jim V. said...

Hey anonymous, how about you man up and post your name?

Stop hiding behind a computer with your lame backhanded tv news insults. So come on, do me this one favor...

I promise I won't let you down.