One reason people get hooked on methamphetamine is sex. The Associated Press reports that the drug eventually destroys the sex drive, but for a short while meth can boost sexual appetite and performance in a way that’s much stronger than stimulants such as cocaine. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Laymon said he has interviewed hundreds of meth users, and a startling number say the drug enhances sexual performance and desire. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen winced when Laymon called the drug an “aphrodisiac” and said his description “just set us back quite a ways here.” Officials facing an epidemic of meth abuse in rural Appalachia want to focus on the misery it causes and not its aphrodisiac effect.
Meth users can never recapture the feeling of that initial high, but they keep trying in “a vicious downward spiral,” said one expert. U.S. taxpayers spent more than $37 million on meth lab cleanups in 2002-03. The Drug Enforcement Administration has reported 1,253 meth labs cleaned up in Tennessee in 2003, the most in any state for the third straight year. A task force appointed by Bredesen is recommending tougher penalties and expanded treatment for addicts. The governor is expected to push for the measures in the General Assembly next year.