Meth Menace Part III

Robert Nowell meets weekly with a group of inmates at Kilby Correctional facility.

"It's amazing what happens to you when you go back out there and you're not prepared," says Nowell to the twenty inmates in the law library. This group, known as K.A.V.IC. (Kilby Alabama Volunteers in Corrections), are volunteers working on making their reentry to the free world a successful one.

One inmate and recovering crystal meth addict named David says, "I lost my wife, business, my home, everything i have on account of meth."

For the three recovering crystal meth addicts in the group, staying out of jail means staying clean. A scary proposition considering the best rehabilitation options they have are here in jail.

Another incarcerated recovering meth addict, James, says, "Only an addict can help another addict."

Without insurance or several thousand dollars, private rehabilitation clinics are out of reach. In the free world, new legislation is making it harder for people to buy the key ingredients for meth: ephedrine or psudoephedrine.

Alabama Bureau of Investigation agent, Tony Calderaro, says, "We've seen a reduction in the number of labs and commercial meth from other states."

However, ephedrine can be found in many shelf products; and for a crystal meth addict, finding it is no obstacle.

Serving time in the Lee County jail on meth charges, Rachel, says, "I didn't even like it, but I had to have it."

Easy access combined with an addiction unlike any ever seen before; trying to stop the meth epidemic from the supply end is like swimming upstream.

Captain Van Jackson of the Lee County Sheriff's Office says, "It has been one of the most challenging things we've encountered, primarily because it is so easy to produce and it's happening in homes, concealed by homeowners."

Even the most skilled officers know their efforts don't address the root of the problem.

David says, "All drugs are addictive to a certain extent, but not like this. I had no idea. I've used drugs over the years and none of them have done me in like meth has."

Which brings us right back to square one. Anyone reckless enough to try crystal meth, even once, will most likely end up here.

Rachel proposes, "You do a line right now and it's going to take at the smallest two years from your life, if you're lucky enough to get better." Rachel adds, "People have sex with their cousins to get a free 8-ball. People leave their kids here and there and don't even remember that they have them with them."

Until the public steps forward and provides more resources, the only way they will be able to stay clear of meth is by sticking to the plans they make here behind bars and avoiding virtually all of their old friends and acquaintances.

It's an easy task in some respects.

David says, "Everyone I knew was doing it. Most of them are in jail or dead."

However, quitting is still a life choice made in the vice grip of an unforgiving addiction.

James adds, "Meth addiction is one of those drugs it's like having your hands on the wheel and just letting go. There's no telling what's going to happen. You're in direct danger."

Experts say the most effective treatment for meth abuse is behavior interventions.  It's the same process used with the recovering addicts at Kilby.  There are support groups throughout the state for people who've kicked the habit and are looking to stay clean.  Sadly, however, more than 90% of meth addicts go back to using again.

Reporter: Theo Travers