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Meth and Addiction: Which Is The Real Problem
The latest meth lab bust in central Illinois happened at a Taylorville home. Police tell us they worry the drug isn't the real problem.
"The people that are doing it I believe are drug addicts. They're addicted. They're drug addicts," Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp said.
Here's how the numbers stack up. Sangamon County's had four meth-related arrests all year. Morgan County's had eight. Between January and August of this year, Christian County made 12 meth-related arrests. Sheriff Kettelkamp says there have been at least six more since then.
Christina Westenhaver lives in Taylorville--one house down from the place where Taylorville police arrested these three suspects early Monday. Her neighbors, 21-year-old Aaron Ballion, 19-year-old Mary Tucker and 22-year-old David Droke, are all accused of making meth.
"People, they're getting desperate now. It's getting Christmas. They're getting desperate. They're out selling what they can sell," Westenhaver said.
Taylorville Police say Westenhaver's neighbors chose to make and sell meth, and Kettelkamp doesn't believe money alone is the motivating factor.
"It's harder for people to get the prescription drugs now, so what they are doing is going to another drug," Kettelkamp said.
That other drug, he says, is meth. It's cheap, fast, and easy to make.
Penalties for meth-related arrests depend on criminal history. They range from probation to days in jail to years in prison. Though law enforcement officers work closely with lawmakers, the sheriff fears there is no penalty strong enough to break addiction.