It’s destroyed a staggering number of communities and taken all too many lives.
Friday, experts from all over the state gathered to look for answers and solutions to the problem of methamphetamine use.
Vigo County Sheriff Jon Marvel said, “When I became sheriff back in 2003, I recognized a huge problem here in this county and the problem was methamphetamine.”
Four years later, the problem is still growing.
In 2005, Indiana had more meth labs than any other state.
Now there are fewer labs but the drug is still one of the area's biggest challenges, and it's why judges, doctors, law enforcement and corrections officers met at Indiana State University Friday.
George Creekbaum of the Wabash Valley Correction Facility said, “We hope to bring attention into it, and to recognize that it is an ongoing problem.”
As part of National Meth Awareness Day, professionals got a chance to share their successes and discuss the next step.
Creekbaum said, “We're preparing these people to return to the community.”
Officials say everyone should be concerned about getting drugs off the streets, not only because it destroys communities, but because it could cost you money.
Marvel said, “It affects everyone. If you don't have children or if you're an older person, you are affected because you're taxpayers and your tax money is going to offset the issue.”
He added, “Primarily it was a Caucasian drug, but now we see it in people of color as well.”
Doctors say it's highly addictive nature makes it hard to quit.
Randy Stevens, an addiction specialist at Hamilton Center said, “It increases a neurotransmitter in the brain known as dopamine. There is no other substance known to man that raises that pleasure hormone more than methamphetamine.”
But some treatments are working.
The Wabash Valley Correctional Facility's re-incarceration rate for its meth program is near 10%, far below the national average of about 55%.
Creekbaum said, “Methamphetamine is not a death sentence. People do recover.”
Officials also say the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility has graduated more than 1,400 people from its meth treatment program.
Doctors say meth use can cause psychosis, paranoia, depression and permanent.