How widespread is meth in our area?

The recent methamphetamine arrests, one in Horry County and one in Darlington County, have led to a conversation about the severity of the drug in our area.

Law enforcement officers on the Grand Strand and in the Pee Dee say it's not as common, but that doesn't mean they're not paying attention to it.

"We do see meth labs. It's not as common as we see crack cocaine in the area, but it's definitely something that we're seeing," said Horry County Police Sergeant Robert Kegler.

"What's particularly interesting about meth, though, is that it is increasingly an epidemic in the middle of nowhere," said drug counselor John Coffin, of Shoreline Behavioral Services. Coffin says the drug gained popularity because it's cheap and easy to make.

"It's like high school chemistry type stuff that will make it. So if you've got the chemicals and you've got beakers and ways of distilling and all that stuff, yeah, it can be made."

It is also made easily by just searching on line for the recipe and ingredients.

Meth acts as a stimulant, speeding up the body's metabolism. But it also accelerates aging.

"The reasons why they are getting particularly sick particularly fast is because literally they are burning the candles at both ends," said Coffin. "You won't eat. So, if you are doing a lot of this, you will start to lose a lot of weight fairly rapidly. The chemicals in it begin to erode the enamel on your teeth. So, you develop something called meth mouth, which is actually causing your teeth to fall out."

As for how prevalent it is on the Grand Strand, Coffin says last year, only two out of 2,000 cases at Shoreline Behavioral involved meth as the primary reason for rehab.