Thu October 29, 2009
The Methamphetamine Epidemic --- and How It's Ravaging Smalltown America. (Encore presentation.)
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – (Note: This program originally aired earlier this year.) On this edition of StudioTulsa, we look at the methamphetamine epidemic in this country --- and especially at its ravaging effects on smalltown America. Our guest is journalist Nick Reding, whose new book is "Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town." Reding's book tells the story of Oelwein, Iowa (pop. 6,159), which, like thousands of other villages across the nation, has been left behind by Big Agriculture, a depressed local economy, and a dramatic outward-migration of people. On top of all this, a very cheap, long-lasting, and highly addictive drug has arrived in town.... As Walter Kirn writes in his review of this book in The New York Times: "Think globally, suffer locally. This could be the moral of...Reding's unnerving investigative account of two gruesome years in the life of Oelwein, Iowa, a railroad and meatpacking town of several thousand whipped by a methamphetamine-laced panic whose origins lie outside the place itself, in forces almost too great to comprehend and too pitiless to bear. The ravages of meth, or 'crank,' on Oelwein and countless forsaken locales much like it are shown to be merely superficial symptoms of a vaster social dementia caused by, among other things, the iron dominion of corporate agriculture and the slow melting of villages and families into the worldwide financial stew."