Methanomics: How economic malaise can fuel a drug epidemic


In America, authorities often seem to view drug problems in a vacuum: recognizing the effects of addiction, but all too rarely considering the causes of consumption. Officially, the implication is that drug use is self-creating and self-perpetuating, instead of the result of larger processes and movements.

This is particularly clear in the case of methamphetamine, a brutally addictive drug that has increasingly proven the scourge of small-town America. In Methland: the Death and Life of an American Small Town, Nick Reding explores the causes of the epidemic, suggesting that meth's extensive popularity is rooted in the painful economic realities of a heartland that economics has left behind.

Originally published