Breaking Bad: Missouri Realities

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I loved watching AMC’s Breaking Bad as much as anybody. The show was heiled for its realism, although it was perhaps more of a look at the manufacturing and distribution end of the meth business than a look at end users. Alice Robb’s New Republic article about meth in Missouri showed an entirely different, and deeply disturbing perspective.

State University professor Jason Pine was able to arrange an inside look at the world of meth near my hometown of St. Louis, in Jefferson County, Missouri. He actually “embedded” in the meth community. Some of the people Pine encountered started using on the job, trying to find a way to numb themselves to boring, repetitive jobs like roofing and factory work. Unlike Walter White, it seems that Missouri “cooks” primarily make meth on a small scale for their own use. Whole families, including children, use together.

It’s a tough read. But Pine’s unparalleled access draws a picture unlike much that you’re going to find on television. It’s a needed dose of realism in an age where the societal fad of the day seems to be greater acceptance, and even legalization of some drug use. (OP 1/29/2014)

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