Jail Deputy Bret King in Multnomah County, Or., is collecting what he calls “the faces of meth,” reports The Oregonian. Using jailhouse photos, King is creating a slideshow that reveals in full, unflattering color how methamphetamine ravages its users over years, months, and even weeks. “I’ve made it my business to go through the mug shot system every day,” the 39-year-old King said. “I’ll admit it: I’m looking for the most extreme faces.”
King plans to take his fast-growing collection on tour to Oregon schools next year, hoping to frighten youths away from the synthetic drug. Oregon treats more meth addicts per capita than any other state, and use among teens is rising. It’s a game of comparisons. He takes two mug shots of the same addicts, taken at different times, and shows them side by side. Meth use is becoming increasingly deadly in Oregon. In 2003, the state medical examiner recorded 78 meth-related deaths, a 20 percent jump from 2002, and 56 percent higher than in 2001. Only heroin, with 100 deaths, claimed more lives last year.