The video below is from National Geographic's Drugs Inc. series and it seems to be a fairly good representation of the middle Tennessee drug scene along with its accompanying 'drug war.'
Over the decades the good ole boys have gone from moonshine to weed to meth to pharmaceuticals, each with their own set of risks and rewards. As the grower in the video says, what should be a $100 a pound weed now is $4,000. It's the fear tax. The compensation justified by the threat not only of arrest but also of asset forfeiture. There's one scene where cops seize a high end SUV for less than 1/2 oz of marijuana, a misdemeanor. They are excited to grab such a deal. Assets are auctioned to get money for more cops and more seizures in an endless cycle for drug war profits.
Shake 'N Bake meth is a problem with its danger of explosions, toxicity and contamination of people and property but in my little area people are arrested almost every week for it. The jails are full of them but it seems there's always someone to take their place. The DIY money and 'high' for one's own habit are too tempting.
Still, use of meth is minor compared to the dope coming from America's major drug cartel, the pharmaceutical industry. I don't have enough fingers to count the number of folks I have known who died from these 'painkillers.' 'Dope' docs, profitable pain clinics and rogue doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists and medical personnel are the not so secret pushers. Drug addicted doctors are mostly hidden until they get so sloppy that it becomes inevitable they get caught. They often are back door dealers too. Even then they don't go to jail. It's rehab and a few $10,000 contributions to their local political money couriers, mostly Republican around here these days, and they a make a comeback to their 'practice.' My family has had a couple of close encounters with addict doctors that easily could have been disastrous but luckily didn't take that turn. I'm not for work place drug testing but for doctors and politicians I might make an exception.
Throughout history people have always had the urge to alter their consciousness. It's just a fact. But never before have state sanctioned drug running, both 'legal' and illegal, arms trafficking to cartels and big bank money laundering combined with the 'war on drugs' created such havoc on our society. As with all wars, I'm reminded of a line from the old song... "Lord knows there's got to be a better way."