MOULTRIE — In a recent survey, the National Association of Counties found methamphetamine is the biggest drug problem in the country. It is definitely the largest drug problem in Colquitt County, local law enforcement says, but the city of Moultrie has problems with other drugs.

Lt. Jerry Green, commander of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Drug Enforcement Team, said methamphetamine is by far the most dangerous drug being used in the county. The main reason is it is more available to users because they can make it themselves.

“Methamphetamine is at the head of the class,” Green said. “It’s the biggest drug problem we’ve got.”

Moultrie Police Chief Frank Lang, however, said crack cocaine and marijuana are the biggest drugs in the city. Even so, the effects of methamphetamine make is a problem for any law enforcement agency and the community.

“Methamphetamine affects a person’s ability to be rational more than other drugs such as cocaine or marijuana,” Lang said. “A meth user is totally irrational and may have extreme violent tendencies.”

Green said methamphetamine causes paranoia. A person using the drug will act erratic and become potentially dangerous when an officer arrives because they are already very tense and afraid of being caught.

Methamphetamine causes drying out of a user’s mouth, which Green said will rot their teeth. It will also cause sores on a person’s arms, back and neck and excessive weight loss due to a lack of eating during binge use.

The effects of methamphetamine will keep a user on a high much longer than cocaine, especially during binge use, Green said. A person during binge meth use does not sleep much, eats very little and stays high until their body “crashes,” causing them to sleep for long periods of time, he said.

Green said methamphetamine is more prevalent in the county because of the strong chemical odor produced when it is made, which is less detectable with houses spread apart. Some people, though, have rented out a motel room and made the drug there.

Methamphetamine use is also a much more prevalent drug among whites and Hispanics, Green said. Blacks tend to use either powder or crack cocaine, though both stimulant drugs have similar affects on the body.

In the survey, about half of the 500 counties surveyed reported a decrease in the number of meth lab busts as a result of laws that restrict the sale of cold medicines with precursor ingredients used in the manufacture of meth. Green said meth production has slowed down a little bit here because of the new laws. However, people are coming up with new ways to make the drug.

“Methamphetamine is easier to make now than it was six or seven years ago,” Green said.

Many of the burglaries and robberies committed in the county appear to be because of drug use, Green said, and a “very high percentage” of people incarcerated are there for drug-related activity.

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