Drug Dilemma: Fighting Back Against Meth in Rural Communities

Woodville, Fla.
Woodville, Fla.
Posted at 9:30 PM, Apr 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-24 10:02:08-04

WOODVILLE, Fla. (WTXL) - The small, 3,000 person town of Woodville, Florida is known for being pretty quiet, but lately, it's known even more for an increasing problem: meth.

"You see what it does to people. It's a horrible drug, very addictive. Destroys people," said Woodville resident Steve Lousberg.

Although he couldn't give us any hard numbers, Lieutenant Grady Jordan of the Leon County Sheriffs Office says there has been a recent increase in meth busts in more rural areas like Woodville.

Lt. Jordan says that's partly because meth is having a little bit of a resurgence right now, and partly because his deputies are getting better at spotting those who make and buy it.

"We've got a lot of deputies that are becoming a little bit more in tune to their areas that they're working," said Lt. Jordan. "So they're seeing a lot of the same things, a lot of the same traffic so they understand what's different and what's changing in that area. More of a community policing type effect. We're also looking at the data, and that data that's coming back, we're seeing different hotspots."

Meth labs in rural areas are known to be small, but police tell us they're still highly toxic and the effects go beyond  the person making the drug.

"What's very, very unfortunate is we run across these labs and a lot of times, there's children in these houses where they're making this stuff," said Lt. Jordan.

"There's no demographic to addiction," said Dr. Ron Burks, a psychotherapist at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Burks says he sees a decent amount of people from smaller communities being treated for meth addiction because they may not have access to drugs like heroin or cocaine, but meth is easy to make.

The problem: anybody can get hooked on it quickly, and it doesn't take long for the drug to wreck havoc on your body.

"We have patients that we're working with in addictions counseling that are on their second heart valve transplant and they're under 30," said Dr. Burks. "The deterioration that occurs in the person physically is visible and it doesn't take that many years for it to become a problem. Other drugs seem to take longer, but this one can result in problems after the first use. This is the danger that meth proposes."

If you or someone you know needs help treating a meth addiction, you can find resources here.