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The Methamphetamine Industry in America

The Methamphetamine Industry in America: Transnational Cartels and Local Entrepreneurs

Henry H. Brownstein
Timothy M. Mulcahy
Johannes Huessy
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 172
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  • Book Info
    The Methamphetamine Industry in America
    Book Description:

    Galax, a small Virginia town at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, was one of the first places that Henry H. Brownstein, Timothy M. Mulcahy, and Johannes Huessy visited for their study of the social dynamics of methamphetamine markets-and what they found changed everything. They had begun by thinking of methamphetamine markets as primarily small-scale mom-and-pop businesses operated by individual cooks who served local users-generally stymied by ever more strenuous laws. But what they found was a thriving and complex transnational industry. And this reality was repeated in towns and cities across America, where the methamphetamine market was creating jobs and serving as a focus for daily lives and social experience.

    The Methamphetamine Industry in Americadescribes the reality that the methamphetamine industry is a social phenomenon connecting local, national, and international communities and markets. The book details the results of a groundbreaking three-stage study, part of a joint initiative of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Justice, in which police agencies across the United States were surveyed and their responses used to identify likely areas of study. The authors then visited these areas to observe and interview local participants, from users and dealers to law enforcement officers and clinical treatment workers.

    Through the eyes and words of these participants, the book tells the story of the evolution of methamphetamine markets in the United States over the past several years, given changes in public policies and practices and changing public opinion about methamphetamine. The authors look closely at how the markets are part of a larger industry, how they are socially organized, and how they operate. They also consider the relationships among the people involved and those around them, and the national, regional, and local culture of the markets. Their work demonstrates the importance of understanding the business of methamphetamine-and by extension other drugs in society-through a lens that focuses on social behavior, social relationships, and the cultural elements that shape the organization and operation of this illicit but effective industry.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-6986-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. Chapter 1 Understanding Methamphetamine Markets as an Industry
    (pp. 1-12)

    Galax is located in Virginia just north of the border with North Carolina and just south of the Great Appalachian Valley. It sits about twenty-five hundred feet above sea level at the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Summers are mild and humid and winters can be cold and snowy. Every August the people of Galax celebrate “the largest Old Time Bluegrass Fiddler’s Convention” and that, along with many other music and craft festivals and conventions, makes the city “the World Capital of Old Time Mountain Music.” People from all over the world visit Galax and the surrounding area to...

  6. Chapter 2 Methamphetamine in America
    (pp. 13-28)

    With its world-class airport and its placement at the intersection of both east-west and north-south interstate highways, the region around Atlanta, Georgia, is in an excellent spot through which to transport products from around the nation and even the world to consumers in other parts of the country. One online business magazine,Inc., describes the Atlanta area as follows, in a March 1, 2004, article by Joel Kotkin, “Top 25 Cities for Doing Business in America”: “Spread out over 28 counties in north-central Georgia, Atlanta’s region includes over 4.5 million people, only 420,000 of whom live in the city itself....

  7. Chapter 3 Social Activity in the Methamphetamine Industry
    (pp. 29-54)

    The one-pot or shake-and-bake technique is a popular method for small-scale meth cooks. One-pot is no less, and maybe even more, dangerous than other methods and with it you can make only a small amount of meth. But one-pot has become popular in communities with small local labs because it is a simpler process that requires only one person to do the cooking, no heating, and a smaller quantity of pseudoephedrine (an ingredient in cold tablets used in making meth). In a two-liter bottle, the kind in which you would buy soda pop, the cook mixes all the ingredients together...

  8. Chapter 4 Social Relationships in the Methamphetamine Industry
    (pp. 55-76)

    People need to learn how to make methamphetamine. It may be easy to learn what chemicals you need and how to mix them to produce methamphetamine, but knowing how to make meth safely and how to produce a product that has the desired effect is something else. The production of methamphetamine is a hazardous enterprise. Of greatest concern, making methamphetamine involves mixing chemicals that when they are combined in the wrong way or at the wrong time or when a minor mistake is made in the cooking process there can be an explosion. Consider the currently popular way to make...

  9. Chapter 5 The Culture of the Methamphetamine Industry
    (pp. 77-96)

    We live in a world that is made up of stuff. The world is filled with all those things we can see or smell or hear or taste or touch that we use to do the things we do. In your home, for example, you have something called a chair you can sit on and something called a bed on which you can lie down. If you live in a modern society, in order to communicate with other people you probably have a device you and the people you know call a cell phone or maybe a smartphone that allows...

  10. Chapter 6 Meth Markets and the Methamphetamine Industry in the United States
    (pp. 97-110)

    In the United States the methamphetamine industry is the sum of all the means and methods that are used for the manufacture, distribution, and sale of methamphetamine as the product moves from producers to consumers. It is the sum of all the things the people who are involved with methamphetamine do and how they relate to one another and how they give meaning to their actions and relationships. Early in the twenty-first century the methamphetamine industry was confronted by a huge challenge to its future when both the federal and state governments introduced legislation to curtail access to a principal...

  11. Appendix: The Study of the Dynamics of Methamphetamine Markets
    (pp. 111-126)
  12. References
    (pp. 127-136)
  13. Index
    (pp. 137-152)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 153-156)