If you'll let me be serious for a minute, I'm responsible for typing up the Sedalia Police reports for our news station and site. Every day, we get an email from the records department that has a scan of each and every arrest report, incident report, found property report, you name it.  And I know a lot of you read those reports every day.  Again and again, we see that Sedalia has a meth problem. I don't have to type the reports up every day to know that.  You know that, you probably even know somebody who has been affected by it.

It's such a sad, terrible thing to see this dangerous drug take over someone's life and just ruin it time and again.  While stopping the distribution and manufacturing of meth is key, that's not really something the average person can do to help the situation.  That's in the hands of the Police and the Sheriff's Department. You can't get meth, you can't do meth.  Clearly that's important.

But if you, as the average person, can see the signs early on that someone you know is using methamphetamine, maybe you can reach out and try to get them help before it's too late.  Often, people will try to hide the fact that they're using, and some of them are going to be very good at it - and be able to hide it for a long time. You might know the obvious signs that someone's been using for a while - losing weight, thinning hair, sores on their skin, dental problems.  Sure, those are the more obvious ones, and the ones that come when someone's been using for a while.  But there are some other, somewhat hidden, subtler signs that someone might be using methamphetamine.  Here are a few, so you can stay vigilant to try to nip the problem in the bud while you can.

1.  Gum Chewing. 

If someone in your life is suddenly constantly chewing gum for no reason, that might be something to ask about.  Meth tends to cause dry mouth.  The bacteria thrive, and then later that's when they start to have dental problems. So if someone is suddenly always chewing gum, they're trying to get the saliva back into their mouth.  But do keep in mind that some blood pressure medications do dry your mouth out as well. So don't freak out at first, but if it's combined with some other signs, you might reach out.

2.  Sleeplessness. 

Meth causes all sorts of problems by keeping people up for hours and hours at a time.  But it also can wreck with their sleep schedule and keep them up even when they're not currently using.  It might also cause the opposite effect, making them sleep at strange times that aren't like them.

3.  Repetition. 

Meth messes with your mind. It makes you do stuff over and over again, like taking something apart and putting it back together.  Again, you might wanna watch for this one only if they're starting to do it out of nowhere, or if they're doing it alot more than they used to.  Most of the time a meth user won't even know they're doing it.  If someone has always been the type of person to tap their pen on their desk when they're thinking, that's not a concern.  But if someone suddenly is washing their clothes for the third time that day, you might look out for that.

4.  Shortness  of Breath. 

Since often meth is a drug that is smoked, this one is another sign to watch for.  Especially if, again, this hasn't been a common problem before. If you're with someone and they get winded pretty easily when they've never had breathing problems or they've never been a cigarette smoker, there might be something else going on.

5.  Memory Loss. 

Like I said before, meth messes with your mind.  It literally eats your brain.  Cousin Steve suddenly doesn't remember the text conversation you had last week? It might be nothing, but if it's combined with some of the other symptoms, then it might be a problem.  They might be losing their brain cells, causing them to forget patches of time or things they said or things they've done.

I hope you never have to use this information. I hope no one you know, work with, or love has any contact with this terrible drug. If they do, I hope you and your family and your community will do everything you can to help them get off of it and get back to health.

Vigilantly yours,

Behka