Reporting Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A dozen people have been taken to the hospital in the past 24 hours from overdosing on a particularly bad batch of meth. Deputies think the meth is coming from the east metro, and they are concerned.
Randy Gustafson of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office says he’s never seen anything like this before. They think it’s coming in from Mexico. But the meth is circulating now from Maplewood to Bloomington, and all around Ramsey County.
Tom battled a meth addict for decades. He only wanted to use his last name in this interview.
“I’m a drug addict. I’m a recovering drug addict,” Tom said. “I had tooth loss and tooth decay. There were times where I didn’t sleep for a week at a time.”
For 20 years he did meth. After prison and rehab, he’s eight-years sober – and he’s got a new wife and a new life helping other addicts.
“I needed to find a way to become selfless and help other people,” he said.
But he remembers it well. Tom was a dealer in the Twin Cities, and every now and then he said he would get a bad batch. He heard about the bad meth being distributed town.
“I came into contact with varieties that made me physically sick for days. So yes, it doesn’t surprise me at all,” he said.
A dozen people have been taken to the hospital in St. Paul in last 24 hours. Randy Gustafson says they typically see one overdose a day.
“With this extra poison that’s being put into the poison of meth, it’s making it an even worse problem,” Gustafson said.
He says the victims have high fevers, high anxiety and extreme hallucination.
“One lady jumped off of the second story of a building thinking that she could fly,” he said.
His hope is that word on the street will spread, and users will see that there’s a choice between dirty meth and a clean life.
“You just have to put that first step out and say ‘I’m done, I give up, this life isn’t for me anymore.’ There’s a lot of help out there,” Tom said. “I’m proof.”
Tom says the resource that helped him was the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center.
The sheriff’s office worries that some people are afraid to come in because of the illegal nature of the drug. But they say their concern isn’t about arresting everyone – it’s about safety. Even if they do show up, it does not mean they’ll be arrested.
Deputies were able to get a sample of the meth from one of the users. They’ll be testing it to see exactly what is making people so sick.