Meth

New Halloween Menace: Meth in Your Kid's Candy Bag

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DEA

Just in case parents get tired of fruitlessly searching trick-or-treat bags for marijuana-infused candy, a new Halloween scare is in the works. The San Jose Mercury News reports that "police in Hercules are trying to determine who gave a plastic bag of methamphetamine to a young girl on Halloween, and are reminding parents to inspect their children's candy haul for suspicious items." This new menace is promising, since meth is scarier than marijuana, but it has a definite disadvantage: There is no indication that anyone tried to disguise the meth as candy. Far from the strawberry-flavored meth of legend, it was just 0.1 gram of white powder in a tiny zip-lock bag—but still enough to support a felony possession charge, according to police, which gives you a sense of how insane our drug laws are.

"This could have been intentional, or it could have been accidental," Hercules police Sgt. Ezra Tafesse told the Mercury News, "and we won't know until we speak with the person who did this." Or as KNTV, the NBC station in San Jose, puts it, "police are unsure if the meth found were given to the child intentionally or on accident." On accident, I'm guessing, since the prank potential seems very low, given the lack of resemblance between the meth and any candy kids are apt to get on Halloween.

Speaking of accidentally distributing drugs to children, Hercules, a city of 24,000 in the San Francisco Bay Area, was the location of another such Halloween incident, this one involving marijuana. It was the closest thing I could find to trick-or-treaters getting cannabis candy instead of the regular kind: Back in 2000, marijuana buds stuffed into wrappers from miniature chocolate bars turned up in children's trick-or-treat bags. Hercules police traced the pot to a postal worker, who obtained it from an undeliverable package without realizing what was actually inside  the wrappers. The San Francisco Chronicle explained:

The treats were the product of a failed and undetected attempt to mail 5 ounces of marijuana to someone in San Francisco, said Hercules Police Chief Mike Tye.

"Somebody tried to mail it and didn't have enough postage or the address was wrong," he said.

Because the package, which contained four bags of Snickers bars destined for San Francisco, did not have a return address, it landed in the dead-letter office—where it was taken by a postal employee who planned to hand the candies out to trick-or-treaters.

"A lot of their dead mail, stuff that's nonperishable, is given away to charity," Tye said. "(The employee) picked up the candy along with a bunch of canned goods. He took the other items to a church but kept the candy."

Because police were convinced that the postal worker had made an honest mistake, he was neither charged nor publicly named. His error is obviously quite different from deliberately giving out marijuana-infused candy disguised as unspiked versions of the same products: Not only was the marijuana distribution inadvertent, but no one would mistake marijuana buds for a Snickers bar once the package was opened. Press coverage of the incident may nevertheless have fed rumors about malicious strangers trying to trick kids into ingesting cannabis—just as this meth story may transmogrify into something more sinister.

According to the Mercury News, by the way, Sgt. Tafesse said "it is unusual for drugs to be slipped into Halloween candy, but it happens from time to time, especially with marijuana." He did not cite any actual cases.

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  1. If only, if only

  2. “police are unsure if the meth found were given to the child intentionally or on accident.”

    Someone who writes for a living wrote that.

    1. Maybe it was medicinal meth!

      My libertarianism starts to break down when it comes to meth. Too many friends who…

      Sullum’s libertarianism never breaks down. Sometimes I think Sullum is the only real libertarian.

      1. Well, there is such a thing as medicinal meth (though it comes in pill form (or inhalers, but that’s levo-meth) and not powder).
        I think that the worse drugs are the ones that most need to be legalized, from a harm reduction perspective, at least.

        1. I knew lots of potheads. Alcohol is definitely worse for you than ganja.

          I never knew anybody that seriously got into meth, and it didn’t seriously fuck them up. …seemed like it was worse than cocaine that way.

          If it was legal, would the government have to protect sellers from product liability lawsuits?

          Warning: Using this product as intended will seriously fuck your life up?

          I’ve seen Sullum refer to people in the past who use meth and it doesn’t screw up their lives; but I’ve known so many people whose lives totally cratered–and it didn’t have anything to do with the law. They just turned into totally fucked up people.

          I’m sure meth has its uses, but then I suppose Ebola does, too.

          1. Meth is Adderall for poor people. Hel, you can get a prescription for it in the US for ADHD, although you’d have to be pretty desperate to want it when the others are so much better. If all the known to be safe, cheap, and widely used amphetamines were more available, even as a drug of abuse, meth would be a niche market.

          2. Well, to counter your anecdotes with my own, I’ve known several people who did some meth for a while and stopped. And one who has disappeared.

            As with any drug, set and setting makes a big difference. I think that there are a lot of cultural factors that make all hard drugs much more dangerous than they would be if legal.

            1. Yep. There is a lot of casual amphetamine usage. Some of it is meth. Don’t expect people to be open about it, though.

              Most of us get a skewed perspective because the only meth users we know are the ones who have already gone so far that they can’t hide their meth usage.

          3. I’ve known so many people who used cocaine and meth casually and then just kinda…stopped. Either they got serious jobs, got into long term relationships, or they just got tired of it. I’ve only known one person who actually got addicted to it, and she went to rehab after one fucked up night when she tried to stop on her own. The common denominator? Prohibition did not stop anyone from using it, nor did it make it any easier for them to stop using it.

            1. “I never knew anybody that seriously got into meth…”

              Yeah, I’ve known casual users, too. They eventually stopped.

              I’ve known people who used to smoke weed a couple of times a day. I wouldn’t call them casual users. …weed didn’t fuck up their lives.

              I’ve known people who have a few drinks every day–alcohol didn’t completely fuck up their lives either.

              I’ve never known anybody who did meth on a regular basis and didn’t go over the edge.

              Some of them did it over the weekend during the summer. Some of them did it in college during finals week.

              Never knew anyone who did it on a regular basis (“seriously”) and didn’t go over the edge.

              1. Well, yeah. Doing too much too often will fuck you up, and the damage will be a lot more than with pot or even alcohol.

                I’m not sure what inference you’re trying to make from that. It doesn’t mean that casual use is uncommon or even difficult. It just means that it’s more dangerous when abused.

                I suspect that the actual drug abused is more or less incidental in the life-ruining cases, and focusing on the drug itself is a distraction.

                If using meth responsibly were as possible and commonplace as using Adderall, how would you know? They wouldn’t show signs of drug abuse. They certainly wouldn’t talk about it–they’d never get a job again, their kids would be put in foster homes, and they could be denied regular medicines for the rest of their lives just on credible evidence that they could have used meth.

    2. And you’re point are?

      /KNTV viewer

  3. I call bullshit. This never happened. I think the Hercules PD is probably using this as a pretext to harass a particular house “of known meth users” or whatever neighborhood pests they want to spray from the nest.

    1. Sounds about right, but if not…

      “This could have been intentional, or it could have been accidental,”

      I’m going with accidental. I’ve known and represented several meth users and I can’t imagine any of them just giving their shit away.

      1. “Wait a minute, I’m snorting a pixie stick?! The hell did I do with my meth…”

      2. Having been a meth enthusiast in the past, I can attest that meth users are acutely aware of the amount and location of their stash. And it is never given away.

      3. Also, “I’ll hide it in the candy bowl” is sadly plausible.

  4. Halloween has been over for over 72 hours. Is Reason becoming Last Week Tonight?

    1. Christmas season denial.

      1. War On Thanksgiving

  5. Far from the strawberry-flavored meth of legend, it was just 0.1 gram of white powder in a tiny zip-lock bag?but still enough to support a felony possession charge, according to police, which gives you a sense of how insane our drug laws are.

    You know what is insane? The fact that the cops failed to charge this kid with felony possession! What gives?

    Since when did the cops start exhibiting common sense? If they had a chief worth is pay, they would have gone over to that little meth head’s house, shot their dog, tasered a few siblings and then carted her off to jail.

    1. If they had a chief worth is pay, they would have gone over to that little meth head’s the neighbor’s house, shot their dog, tasered a few siblings and then carted her off to jail.

      FIFY. It’s not a party until someone gets flashbanged.

  6. How old was this girl? Are we overlooking the possibility that it was hers?

    1. Dude all children are precious snowflakes incapable of being malicious enough to do something half that bad.

  7. Regarding the buds – I don’t think eating unheated pot would do anything to you. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought edibles had to be cooked to get people high. The THC simply wouldn’t be absorbed from raw buds.

    1. Going from memory, I believe that it’s more just a waste of money because a lot of the cannabinoids do have to be heated, and the rest take a few days to get through the liver, so you end up with a barely noticeable 5 day long high. The main form of THC in smoked cannabis would never become active and go straight to urine.

    2. But yes, you can get quite high if you eat enough raw bud. Source: A friend who managed to grab the evidence bag from the front seat while the cop was busy searching his car.

    3. Heating changes the THC from an acid form to the more psychoactive form. I think that very thorough drying also accomplishes this, but I am not certain. Using fat when cooking with it also makes absorption more efficient and making fat extracts generally involves heating.

  8. HOMEOWNER: Wow, your meth-head costume is the most realistic costume I’ve seen tonight!

    TRICK OR TREATER:Yeah, costume. Whatever, just give me the meth.

  9. Because police were convinced that the postal worker had made an honest mistake, he was neither charged nor publicly named.

    “An honest mistake” isn’t sufficient reason for ordinary citizens peasants to get away with flouting the law and handling evil, evil drugz. Must be nice to be one of the King’s Men.

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