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Propaganda - Is the US Methamphetamine Crisis All That Officials Make It Out to Be?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Beenthere2Hippie, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. Beenthere2Hippie

    Beenthere2Hippie The Constant Optimist Palladium Member Donating Member

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    [IMGL=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=53580&stc=1&d=1483193203[/IMGL]An expert from the heartland thinks the crisis is overblown.

    Before Americans were panicking about heroin, they were freaking out about meth. By now you've probably heard something about the drug and its litany of evils; even leaving aside pop culture phenomena like Breaking Bad, the stuff is everywhere—even in the occasional donut, some cops seem to believe. If you look hard enough, we are often taught by the press, you will find meth lurking in the Midwest, spreading like a plague across the Great Plains, lingering like a scourge in the decaying heartland of small towns nationwide.

    Of course, regular users of the drug, of which there are (*1) an estimated 569,000 in the United States, can suffer from addiction, anxiety, insomnia, weight loss, delusions, and other health problems; in 2009, nearly 100,000 meth users ended up in the hospital. Which is to say the drug does represent a genuine public health problem, one some supporters of President-elect Donald Trump seem to believe might be banished from America's rural idyls with his "big, beautiful wall."

    But like most wars on drugs, America's Meth War has its detractors. Travis Linnemann has lived and worked in Kentucky and Kansas—prime meth country in the national imagination—all his life. A criminologist at Eastern Kentucky University and former probation officer, Linnemann has for decades wondered about two parallel realities of meth: the one he sees with his own eyes, and the far more sensational one depicted by police, politicians, and the media.

    Linnemann's recently-released book, Meth Wars, is an intrepid investigation into the stories that have been generated by meth fears and the reality of the drug and the harm it actually causes. He explores how the drug has been used to sew panic and injustice in communities already on their knees in what is by far the boldest deconstruction of the meth epidemic yet. I spoke to him about how and why, as it continues to cast a shadow over rural America, he thinks a meth chimera was born.

    VICE: When did you start to question what America was being told about meth?

    Professor Travis Linnemann: I was a probation officer in Kansas when meth was a real hot-button topic in the late 1990s. It was consistently drilled into our brains that this was a threat, an emergency, and we needed to do what we could to address it. My job as a probation officer in mostly small towns in northeast Kansas involved lots of surveillance, high levels of drug testing and working with people who had a lot of contact with the criminal justice system.

    But the rhetoric I was getting from the state authorities and the news media wasn't matching up with my experiences. In the field I just didn't see it—I can't recall a meth offender ever being on my caseload. During six years of drug test results from the Kansas state database on the highest risk community based offenders, only 2.7 percent of all positive drug tests were for meth. Even (*2) the most recent figures show that police only seized 21 meth labs in 2014 in Kansas, and those include two-liter "shake and bake" soda bottles.

    Professor Travis Linnemann figures show that police only seized 21 meth labs in 2014 in Kansas, and those include two-liter "shake and bake" soda bottles.

    In your book, you describe the "meth imaginary." What is that?

    It's the way that people imagine everyday life, their relations to other people, what they encounter on the street, through [the lens of] this particular drug. So, for example, someone sees someone who's particularly disheveled, who fits the "meth head" trope, and rather than maybe having some compassion for that person and thinking, "What's going on in their life, what makes them act the way they do?" they are just imagined as a degraded junkie. It enables us to ignore issues such as generational poverty, interfamily conflict, poor health care and all kinds of other things that go on in people's lives everyday. In the imaginary, they are just "meth heads."

    I don't want to disregard this as a completely mythical thing because there are people who have problems with drugs. But we imagine what's going on out there through the lens of this worst-case drug scenario. So someone with bad teeth, someone who broke into your car, is automatically a meth junkie. Maybe they don't have health care and eat a poor diet, maybe they don't have a job and are at the end of their rope.

    Meanwhile in the media, we live in a meth epidemic?

    Every time someone is arrested for meth, it seems to make the news. For the book I spent a lot of time with police and they would always identify meth as their biggest problem, particularly in Kansas and Kentucky, I think because it legitimizes their work. A lot of times people disregard small-town police because they don't have real crime. Well now we have this discourse around the meth epidemic—on their minds, because of meth, they are finally real police fighting real crime.

    We've been seeing a lot of cell phone pictures and footage of zonked out heroin users in the last few months, among them a photograph released by police in Ohio in September. Does this remind you of "meth zombie" imagery and Faces of Meth, a project set up by cops in Multnomah County, Oregon, that aimed to deter meth use via graphic before-and-after mugshots?

    Yes, it's the same thing as the "meth zombie" trope—it allows people to diagnose others as monsters. Faces of Meth is thrillingly voyeuristic for us all to gawk at, looking and judging people's lives…. "What a scumbag!" "How can they do that to themselves, look at their face!"

    Maybe it makes us feel better to do this?

    What these images do is hide longstanding social problems under the narrative of drugs. This is people caught on camera at painful times in their life so others can sum up their life and judge it. It's the logic of horizontal violence, where we can just write somebody off because they are a drug user. The history of someone's life, all the things they've experienced, all are linked to the one problem of drugs. So it makes them quite blameworthy.

    Faces of Meth seems like a form of propaganda in this war, a kind of modern day WANTED poster.

    I agree. It's all about keeping a lookout in your community, alongside all the public service warnings about meth labs and the ingredients they need to cook. It's like the anti-terrorism stuff; if you see something, say something, these people are in your community, this is what you need to do. It's incredibly divisive and unhelpful.

    What did you make of Breaking Bad?

    It's the same old story, the dealers were bad people, most of the users were zombies who would do horrible things for the drug, so it replayed all those old narratives. But it gives us something good to look at, right?

    You spent many hours riding with police in Kansas as fieldwork for your book. What was their take on meth?

    Police are in the business of identifying threats. So they generally saw all community dysfunction and crime as drug-driven. In the very small towns in particular, they felt that everything they dealt with in the community they could trace back to meth. For example, they didn't see homes in disrepair as anything but signs of meth, drugs, and depravity.

    But when I looked at the statistics, they didn't follow that logic. These police were dealing with very few drug crimes, and very, very few for meth. But forget the truth. One of the wellsprings of the meth war is everyday cops, they are important producers of this logic—talking to people in the coffee shop, doing anti-drug talks in schools, they continue to spin and spin a yarn that is very important in legitimizing their place in the community and frankly their own power.

    You seem to think police and the DEA are playing fast and lose with the facts on meth labs…

    Well, it's true that with clandestine labs some of that stuff does explode, but it's rare. And I would question the veracity of the DEA's stats on the number of meth labs local police find. If they find some suspicious junk somewhere or a two-liter soda bottle with a strange liquid, these are counted as "meth labs," but it's not exactly Walter White. It's simply misleading. Worse, people are charged with manufacture and even jailed if they are found with two-liter "shake and bake" bottles, so are looking at a serious amount of prison. The point we have reached is the product of years and years of apocalyptic thinking, so now we have these really out of whack punishments.

    So why do these cops believe meth is the culprit for rural decay?

    Like a lot of other people here, they can't bear to face the truth: Life has been hard for a long time, life's probably not getting any better. Jobs have gone because of corporate agriculture and the consolidation of family farms, and the consequences of accumulation.

    But I think it's easier to blame the local drug user, whether it was a kid you grew up with in high school, or someone you believe is an immigrant who happens to be working in a meatpacking plant who brought over a small amount of meth. It's easier to locate all your anxieties on this one visible problem than it is to confront your own history and to consider that your life may have never been that easy and probably never will be.

    Do people in these troubled parts of Kentucky and Kansas see their neighborhoods as decrepit meth zones?

    From the outside, the rural Midwest and Appalachia are viewed as the proverbial "flyover land." It's written-off territory. "White trash" is used to denigrate people, of course, but for some it's also a marker of pride and transgression in a lot of ways, a kind of noble deprivation, flicking the middle finger at the upper classes and saying 'I'm white trash, fuck you."

    But even those who live here succumb to the meth head rhetoric.

    Are there any parallels with America's urban war on crack?

    Well, meth is associated with white people, but it's the same discourse on depravity and dependence, the same punitive logic as it was for the so-called urban black underclasses and crack. Charles Keating, the governor of Oklahoma, famously said that meth was a white trash drug just like crack is a black trash drug and that we should shame both. The cops didn't have a drug war out here, now they do. In this way, the drug war is a kind of a market that has to find new places to set up shop, otherwise it will stagnate and die.

    How does the meth war compare to what is going on now in America in terms of opiate addiction?

    We do one thing with drugs in this country: we treat their use with police and prisons. So I don't think its all that different. There are parallels with crack, but the opiate problem is different from the meth problem. In Appalachia, eastern Kentucky and West Virginia in particular, pharmaceutical companies identified a population and market and quite literally pumped millions of pills into the area, via some aggressive marketing aimed at patients and doctors, with disastrous consequences: mass addiction to Oxycodone and subsequently a big rise in the use of heroin. As far as I know, meth has had no such corporate sponsorship, and is far less prevalent. Even so, in Appalachia and the Midwest there is very aggressive policing of meth, and frankly all drugs.

    There is a kind of rural decay porn going on here.

    Yes. I think in a lot of ways we are obsessed with the death of small rural towns. A 2004 investigation by the New York Times into meth in rural America quoted a sheriff in Nebraska saying every violent crime runs back to meth and that meth was linked to several murders. For the book, I looked at the statistics and crime had not increased in the way it claimed. Also, Adams County had just three murders in the four years leading to the article—it was just a sound-bite. The readers of the NYT want to know about the meth narrative in rural America, and it's much more sexy than the effect corporate agriculture and Monsanto are having on the community.

    You say that police stand to benefit from the hype. How is this?

    What meth did is that it brought the drug war en masse to new territories. It's a rhetoric used to justify increasing intrusion and police violence. So there is a call for more cops, more funding for cops, that it's fine for cops to have Kevlar helmets and assault rifles in a small town. Because of this powerful [Meth] Imaginary, the public believes that something has to be done, and so people become even less critical of the kind of police behavior they might not stand for normally.

    When I moved into academia, I realized how much the whole meth regime mapped onto everything we've done in this country relating to drugs, one drug after another. We erect this kind of edifice, advance it and really what it does is accomplish other political goals underneath: it brings funding, political careers are made. The authorities can [use meth fears to] broaden the types of political power they have, expand the number of police, get them new equipment.

    And you say the meth war is also being used to ratchet up social control.

    Mexican cartels have been bringing meth into America for 20 years—it's nothing new. But recently there has been a shift in emphasis by police and politicians onto meth production facilities to Mexico and China. This provides a powerful framework for a lot of serious political work to get done: funneling millions of dollars to militarize the border, to arm and train Mexican police, help them build new jails and prisons and provide drug education to Mexican school children.

    But meth obviously is an actual issue for some Americans, so what's the way forward here?

    I'm calling for a realist approach to social problems, getting honest and serious about what's going on in our communities and our country. But I'm skeptical about whether we can do that, as a nation and as individuals, because that means confronting a lot of things. It's difficult, but we need some grim realism.



    By Max Daly - Vice/Dec. 30, 2016
    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/an-alternate-history-of-americas-meth-problem
    Photo: Getty
    Newshawk Crew

    Chrome extensions pdf__________

    (*1) Behavioral Health Trends in the United States Report 2014
    (*2) Survey of Seizures by County
     

    Attached Files:

  2. detoxin momma

    detoxin momma Just A Brick In The Wall Silver Member

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    maybe if the doctors would stop putting such young kids on prescription amphetamines, we wouldn't have such a meth crisis.......why don't *they* think of that....
     
  3. Diverboone

    Diverboone Titanium Member Donating Member

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    The Next Big Epidemic

    As long as there is a War on Drugs, there will always be an epidemic drug. It's difficult to continue to receive political and financial support for a program that has spent over a trillion tax payer dollars with no real positive results. In comes fear, if society can be kept in fear of some great danger, whether it be real or mythical, they will be more submissive. More willing to support the forces who fight this fear, the ones who help keep them safe from this unmerciful scrooge.

    Even articles such as this who seem to be calling the meth epidemic bogus, are peppered with meth mania tidbits. For example "in 2009, nearly 100,000 meth users ended up in the hospital". This statement provides no useful information. Its the same as saying "250,000,000 milk drinkers ended up in the hospital". Correlation does not equal causation. When in reality with the limited information given, those 100,000 people who had used meth may have been at the hospital visiting, employed there, or being treated there. But society has been conditioned to believe that their meth use was in some way at fault for them being in the hospital.

    I do look forward to reading this book. Great article!
     
  4. perro-salchicha614

    perro-salchicha614 Opium Goddess Titanium Member Donating Member

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    I have to agree with the author's analysis of socio-economic factors and the perception of drug use in small towns. For many, many years, I lived in a stereotypical rust belt small town (which made me practically suicidal, big surprise), and every so often the tiny local paper would run some sensationalist story about the heroin "epidemic."

    There is a ton of rage in places like that because they are economically impotent, and they know it on some level. I believe that was a huge factor in Trump's election, personally. Like the author said, it's much easier to blame "demon" drugs like meth and heroin than face the reality that most of the country writes them off.

    Every so often, my mom will give me the news on my heroin-addicted cousins, and I'll think to myself, "Heroin is the least of their problems."
     
  5. Mick Mouse

    Mick Mouse Palladium Member

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    What I found to be quite interesting is that when you are actively involved with meth (or any other drug, for that matter!) that is all you see! When I was involved with meth, all I ever saw was meth users. It reminds me of an old B movie with rowdy roddy piper called "Them" or something like that. You put on the glasses and you see the "reality" of the world. With drugs, you only see others like you, and the "normals" fade into the background. Once I stopped using and got out of that life, I never see tweakers any more.

    But like everything else, it is all about the money. Sensationalism sells papers and sends the ratings up, so whatever story they can pump up means more money in their pockets. If "everyone" knows there is a meth epidemic then that means the cops need more resources, the government needs to step in for your own good, and sooner or later, we can make more and more laws to "protect" us.
     
  6. detoxin momma

    detoxin momma Just A Brick In The Wall Silver Member

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    I can't speak for all places of the country, but here in the midwest, there is a major meth problem.one southern county in my state is known to be the meth capitol of the US.
    probably alot of that is because we are a farming state, lots of crops, lots of easy access to anhydrous., easy meth manufacturing.

    where i live, if you go into a store, and don't see atleast one couple on meth, your eyes werent open.

    we once had every cop in the county in my driveway over my husband using his gun to break up a fight. as they stormed threw my house, with dogs, and weapons, i followed right behind them, nagging, my husband handcuffed in the driveway, saying, " hey, you guys know theres atleast 3 meth labs a block over, and you are all over here fucking with us!"

    The head officer pulls me to the side and tells me this will all go away if i just give them one address, one name....

    i told them, i think i just said enough, get the hell off my property.
    and they did, but they took my husband....

    so, yes, in my opinion, there is a major meth crisis.
    its one of the greatest reasons i won't put my son on ADD or ADHD medications.seems like throwing him a major curve, he will have to face later on.And in a place like this, he'd have no problem finding an easy alternative.
     
  7. aemetha

    aemetha V Silver Member Donating Member

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    The methamphetamine crisis being exaggerated isn't something unique to the US. Here in New Zealand methamphetamine (called P or crack here) use has been declining for years, with 2.7% prevalence in 2003 dropping to 0.9% prevalence in 2015. Media reporting of it however has increased massively. Several high profile incidents of methamphetamine induced violence thrust it into the spotlight, and the media has milked it for every cent they can get.

    For years we were, and still are increasingly bombarded in the media with stories about the methamphetamine epidemic, which according to the statistics is three times less of a problem than it was. We were also bombarded with the "horror" of children being raised in fatally contaminated homes because of methamphetamine use, only to eventually be told that the measure used to detect contamination was nowhere near unsafe levels.

    Now that's not to say there are no communities with massive methamphetamine issues. In my own town there is a major problem, it's easier to find methamphetamine than cannabis. Statistically however that is the exception and not the rule. For the most part use is retreating, and it is media spin that has generated the appearance of it getting worse.

    https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/methamphetamine/drug-trends
     
  8. detoxin momma

    detoxin momma Just A Brick In The Wall Silver Member

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    since the topic is meth crisis, i will also share this. where i live, in midwest USA, meth manufacturing is so common, we can't even buy sudafed without a prescription. you could have a terrible cold, sudefed being the only decent medication that can help this, and it doesnt matter, you have to get a doctor to prescribe it to you.

    in some areas, like my small town, if you use a small town pharmacy, they will sell you it, if you have had a prescription filled with them, but you still have to show your I.D, and you still only are allowed so many purchases a year. If you get caught going over so many buys, you will get in trouble.

    This is called "smurfing" here. manufacturers will find people in need of drugs, or a quick dollar, and pay them to use their I.D to go buy ephedrine, and bring it back to them.

    my oldest half brother spent a year in jail getting caught doing this.His major offence was not paying child support, but it was the smurfing that got him caught.
     
  9. Diverboone

    Diverboone Titanium Member Donating Member

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    DM your State and my State battled for many years who could get the most lab seizures. I believe yours won more often. So I'm familiar with the situation and how it appears to be. I say appears because I believe it's more linked to conditioning, than an actual epidemic.

    The media has an overwhelming public opinion influence. Through the media it's possible to condition the general public into accepting an issue as fact, when the science is not there to back it up. Meth lab bust and meth related arrest are not indicative of meth use. They are more reflective of law enforcement pursuit.

    In my small town they are still trying to wage a war that was never really there, but more so of their making. The dramatic increase in lab incidents is a direct result of tighter precursor restrictions and laws. Starting back in the 80's with P2P restrictions and each new restriction or law there after increased the number of labs required to met the demand. When precursor restriction made it difficult for large scale operators to acquirer the need precursors, this left room for the smaller operations to to fill the gap to meet the demand. This situation played out time and time again until the cost of production rose higher than what the product was worth. The reason why the retail price did not rise with the cost of production was because of importation. The super labs out west moved south after the first P2P restrictions were implemented. Domestic production never really came close to dethroning the super labs.

    But during this time the War on Drugs machine took full advantage of the perfect psuedo epidemic. Tougher restrictions equaled more lab and meth related arrest equaled more media exposure, equaled more prohibition (law enforcement) funding.

    Repeating that scenario multiple times created a (psuedo) epidemic of proportions never seen before. All the while over all methamphetamine usage rates have remained relatively stable. I'm sure in certain areas usage increased some with the increased labs. But it wasn't enough to have a substantial effect upon over all usage rates.

    The pseudoephedrine prescription restrictions you mentioned is just an extension of Federal Law. Which limits the amount purchased in a 30 day period and requires ID and entry into national precursor log.

    [​IMG]
    Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and
    Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 15-4927, NSDUH Series H-50).

    [​IMG]
     
  10. detoxin momma

    detoxin momma Just A Brick In The Wall Silver Member

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    DB, does your state have the restrictions on the pseudophedrine to? just curious.

    my state winning that battle isnt something to be proud of...I once saw a show all about it, how many busts we have down south. one of the worst parts about it is, all the trash people leave behind in the wilderness, it happens with marijuana to.

    its so easy for people to find an isolated spot, and 'post up'.....so shitty how they leave their trash behind. the rain picks alot of that up and takes it straight to our streams...boooo
     
  11. Diverboone

    Diverboone Titanium Member Donating Member

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    They have tried to vote in prescription only pseudoephedrine laws, but have been unable to get them passed. Our total purchase limit is a little tougher than Federal Law mandates.

    These laws do very little to address drug usage. More than 80% of illicit methamphetamine is not manufactured in Country. And it has been shown that any lag in supply, the demand will be meet by other sources.

    I personally feel that all the get tough on meth laws have done more damage than they have good. It has marginalized and stereotyped anyone who may have been charged with a meth crime, into them all being (meth-heads). Granted there are some who get really "spun". Those are the ones who end up in a sensationalized breaking news story.

    I know this is anecdotal, but when I was employed in that trade. My typical customer was far from the "tweeker" headlining the local news. In fact some were and still do have career fields in the "white collar" jobs. Most are living typical American lives and you would never know their past, if you were not part of it. Then there are some of us who enjoyed the product or lifestyle a little too much. Most of us latter ones were receivers of prison sentences.

    My State has a meth offender registry, it's just like sex offender registry, other than one can end up on the meth offender registry for being found guilty of possession. This registry further marginalizes those who need it the least. Luckily enough my name does not appear within those publicly/online published names. It can be quite expensive to be excluded from membership, but worth every penny of it.

    Sorry for rambling. It's a subject that I'm very unwillingly familiar with.
     
  12. detoxin momma

    detoxin momma Just A Brick In The Wall Silver Member

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    i believe my state has this registry you speak of to, ive never looked, but i do have a friend and neighbor that saw the same psychiatrist i did, and she was telling me he kicked her out for testing positive for amphetamines.

    shes a xanax addict, truly does need it, raises all her grandkids, diaper age, shes stressed.
    she swears shes never used meth in 15 years, swears its something in her husbands inhaler making her dirty, and i believe her, she doesnt use meth.shes a downer chic.

    but even still, she was just whining about having to doctor shop over this, and being shoved away because of this meth thing being in her file. i guess, the shrink is judging off the area we live in, which isnt fair.
    walking into a doctor and saying, well my psychitrist says i tested for meth, isnt going to go over well.especially in missouri.
     
  13. Diverboone

    Diverboone Titanium Member Donating Member

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    Vick's Vapor Inhaler is l-methamphetamine and can cause a true positive drug test. Levo-methamphetamine is sold legally over the counter without prescription.

    Off topic but had to offer the information.
     
  14. detoxin momma

    detoxin momma Just A Brick In The Wall Silver Member

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    Thanks for that, see, i believed her....tell me that psychiatrist wouldnt know that!?
    the guys a dick, period. that shit is in her file, and cost her her xanax! bullshit!
     
  15. Mick Mouse

    Mick Mouse Palladium Member

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    Back in AZ and when I was an inspired chemist, the usual way of obtaining precursers was to go to the local wally mart and purchase whatever the legal amount of material was, then take it out to the car. Come back in, pick up more, and go to a completely different department (such as outdoors, sporting goods, etc.) and purchase more. One could literally make 4 or 5 purchases from the same store within a hour, and then move on to the next store. One could pick up everything needed for a very large batch in a day.

    Then I found out I could order quart bottles of methylamine from Kodac and said goodbye to ephedrine forever.

    I think my favorite scene in all of these "meth clean-up" videos that they show is when the cops are standing there identifying various items and get it completely wrong, and yet they are SOOO convinced they know what the fuck they are describing. The best was when a regular red plastic gasoline container was "identified" as a hydriotic acid gas generator. DUH!
     
  16. Mick Mouse

    Mick Mouse Palladium Member

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    Momma, I would offer the suggestion that the meth "epidemic" in your state and those which surround it is NOT due to the causes you list, although those are all very important factors. The main reason is.....rank ass poverty. Having lived in rural areas in IL., KY, Missouri and surrounding states, I can tell you that "country folk" are, for the most part, poor as fuck. Anything that brings in easy and quick money is the new economy. Hell, in Clinton County IL, the big thing now is......moonshine! Cheap, easily available materials, and easy to make!