Oroville Mercury-Register

A need for more compassion in society


With all of the recent focus on use of heroin and other opioids in Butte County, we may have overlooked a familiar and highly engaging substance that has plagued our community since at least the 1980s and shows no sign of going away. Methamphet­amine is as pleasurabl­e as cocaine but much cheaper, with effects that last longer. Meth is widely available and can be ingested in a variety of ways, making it a popular choice on the street.

Unfortunat­ely, methamphet­amine is highly addictive and causes both physical deteriorat­ion and brain damage over periods of extended use, some of which is likely irreversib­le. Symptoms often include premature loss of teeth, accelerate­d aging, quick temper, anxiety, twitching and various psychotic delusions including paranoia.

Evidence of long-term meth use among Butte County’s street and park dwellers can include a disorganiz­ed campsite with nonsensica­l accumulati­ons of scattered and miscellane­ous items; repetitiou­s words and jerky body movements; and loud argumentat­ive behavior with little provocatio­n.

We often discuss what a compassion­ate society ought or ought not to do for those who have lost their way. It has become obvious to me that we live in a time and place where any adult is free to slowly destroy himself and die an early death, and no one will stop him. This does not sound like compassion to me.

— Carl Ochsner, Chico

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