The devices used to put meth in the
body are if nothing else – simple. The paraphernalia used in ingestion is a clue to the propensity of the addiction.
When snorting the drug any small tube will work. We all remember from the Hollywood movies an actor rolling up a dollar bill
and snorting cocaine off the bar in the den. What seems to be the most popular “snort tube” is the average straw
cut in half or in thirds. They also like to take in inner “guts” out of writing pens and use the outer casing
to snort up the drug. Noting overly dramatic or exotic about this stuff, but they are effective just the same. The small compact
mirrors are also used to snort the drug. The smooth surface allows for the entire amount of drug to be taken into the nasal
cavity. A rough surface collects and holds onto the dope and at one hundred dollars per gram they want nothing left behind.
When it comes to the smoking of meth stage the items are only slightly more complicated. Meth vaporizes at a fairly low temperature,
at least when compared to other substances. The vapor is in the form of smoke, which can easily be taken into the lungs with
minimal effort. The most common way of smoking meth is by placing it on a piece of foil, heating up the bottom of the foil
with a standard lighter and using a snort tube device like I just mentioned to inhale the fumes. The foil is usually cut in
approximately six by two inch pieces. It is then creased down the middle where the drug itself is placed. We call these foil
sections “boats.” Obviously, because the give the appearance of a very crude boat or canoe. You will notice burn
marks on the underside of these boats and a tan to brown residue on the topside. A hardcore meth smoker will have these lying
around in various places and folded up in their pockets, purses and wallets. When they are finished with the boat and move
on to a new one they just roll it up in a ball tosses it aside.
Some smokers prefer a glass pipe. These
are glass tubes, which are heated up and a round ball is formed at one end of the tube. A small hole is the chipped or melted
at the top of the ball and that is it. You now have a custom-made meth smoking pipe. The meth is dropped through the hole
in the ball. A heat source (simple lighter) is then applied to the bottom of the ball. The meth is heated, vaporizes and is
inhaled. There are actually people living in meth infested communities that make these pipes for a living. They sell them
to those in the meth culture and can make a nice little profit. Prices can range from five to twenty dollars apiece. We often
execute search warrants on meth dealers and one thing that is always consistent is how well they maintain their meth pipes.
The house will be disarray, the kids may be dirty but the meth pipe is always meticulously secured and protected, often wrapped
in a clean towel and placed in a container that will protect and keep it safe and secure. Meth smokers will often use a common
household item to get the drug into their bodies. We have dozens of them all over our residences, the always-reliable light
bulb. They will take the light bulb and unscrew or somehow detach the metal screw in section of the bulb from the glass section.
They then take out the guts of the bulb leaving only the glass part at their disposal. They then tap or melt a small hole
on the top of the glass, just like the pipe. The rest you already know about. The meth is placed in the bulb a heat source
is applied it is simply inhaled and the rest is up to the meth to do its job.
Injecting methamphetamine is the most
complete and effective way that users are getting the drug into their bodies. Known as hypes on the street users who inject
meth are at an addiction level that is pursued by none. Insulin needles are the preferred tool of the users but most any type
of syringe will work. The process is simple and to someone who wants or needs the drug that bad – painless. First they
will place a small amount of water into a spoon. They then place the meth into the water. A heating source is then applied
to the bottom of the spoon. A regular lighter will work fine, but a torch lighter is preferred. The meth melts into the water.
A small piece of cotton is then placed into the meth / water solution. Things like Q-Tips, cotton balls and sectioned out
cigarette butts are commonly used as the filter system. The meth / water solution is then drawn up through the cotton. This
filtering system serves the purpose of taking out any solids left in the meth / water mixture. Meth melts at a fairly low
temperature and the most of the cutting agents remain as solids as the meth melts. By filtering the meth going into the bloodstream
they are leaving behind the cutting agents that don’t affect the high. Hence they are getting a much purer dose of meth
into their bodies.
One night I was buying meth from a guy.
We were inside his house and doing the deal in his kitchen. I see him unwrap a cloth towel and take out his hype kit (the
things I just explained in the prior paragraph). I watch him pour a small amount of water from the facet into the spoon, put
some dope in the water heat it up, put his cotton swab in the mixture, draw the dope into the syringe. I don’t have
the meth he is selling me yet so I am basically stuck there. I watch as he is trying to get the needle of the syringe into
a vein. He is shaking and he has so much scar tissue over his arm veins he cannot get a smooth “pop” of his target
vein. He starts jamming the needle in his attempt to get his dope into him. He hit something (a vein I assume) to hard and
blood starts shooting in my direction. I wasn’t that great at “Dodge Ball” in high school but you should
have seen me that night – ducking and weaving. The problem was I couldn’t seem too disturbed by this episode,
as someone that I was attempting to portray would not have. Finally he threw me my dope and I tossed him my cash as he headed
to the bathroom to tend to his now injury. As I was walking to my car I did a quick “blood check” on my skin and
clothes, luckily I had improved at Dodge Ball.
Syringes are not just a tool to get
meth into the body. They also make nice weapons. Addicts have been known to draw their own blood into a syringe and then rob
people a “needle point” threatening to stab and inject them with the blood. They will sometimes claim to have
AIDS, hepatitis or some other disease. If they do in fact have one of these diseases even
a near miss resulting in a scratch can be potentially deadly.
Other paraphernalia related items involved in the meth culture could or I should say should set off red flags if discovered.
Small electronic scales are used to weigh meth during the sale of the drug. This stuff is sold on the street in fairly small
amounts and eyeballing the weight is usually not an option. The scales are reasonably accurate easy to tote around.
Meth is sold and transported in what we call corner cut plastic bags. This is just what
is sounds like. The corners are cut out of common sandwich bags and the meth is dropped in. the two corners are usually tied
with trash bag twist ties that are sectioned out into smaller pieces. This allows the user to open and close the bags at will
in case the drug is not ingested all at once. The corner cuts are appropriate for about a quarter of an ounce. Any larger
amount of the drug being sold is placed in the entire plastic bag. Corner cut plastic bags make for good evidence collection
even though some of the more unoriginal dealers will claim they are for collecting stamps. I am still waiting for someone
to claim making the worlds smallest sandwiches.
Meth users and dealers are fairly anal about their dope. They tend to keep it close at all times. They will often carry
small bags or pouches to transport their dope and paraphernalia with them. This is usually in the form of a black leather
pouch and it rarely leaves their sides. They may forget where their kids are but the meth pouch is always close by and never lost. A seasoned police officer will spot them a mile away. Here is an important note. Do
not open one of the pouches and go rifling through them without looking carefully to the contents inside. There is a definite
possibility that you may get bitten (stuck) by a syringe and every moment that you spent trying to be a happy healthy human
being just went down the tubes. As over 90% of our meth dealers are users these pouches have the potential to be carrying
a large amount of dope.