Monday, February 13, 2006

Program Alert: OPB on Frontline, Talking Meth

Like a newspaper story that gets picked up nationally, it's always nice to see local media make news with interest and reach beyond their home area. So it is with Oregon Public Broadcasting tomorrow, as their co-production with WGBH's superlative Frontline on the methamphetamine epidemic debuts at 9pm PST. Following the nationally-airing story that relies heavily on previous coverage by The Oregonian's Steve Suo, a local roundtable featuring Suo and other Oregon guests will air at 10pm. The whole shootin' match (pun belatedly intended) will be repeated on Thursday night if your idea of "setting the mood" for Valentine's Day doesn't involve sallow-faced tweakers and narcotics cops busting doors and heads.

For those who have been following the rise (and recent fall) of meth in the Pacific Northwest, some of the reportage may seem a little old hat, but for much of the nation meth problems are still flying somewhat under the radar:
Methamphetamine abuse started in California and Oregon, but spread rapidly into the Midwest. Now the drug has reached the East Coast. "Meth has made a steady march across the United States," says Steve Suo, a reporter for Portland's The Oregonian who has followed meth from the beginning. "Right now you have Mexican methamphetamine flooding in through Atlanta, and from there [it] fans out both south and north." The discovery of meth labs in states from Maine to Florida foreshadows a new crisis on the East Coast: "They can expect to see increased car theft, increased identity theft, ... domestic violence, child neglect, drug overdoses and just a lot of mayhem," says Suo. Indeed, statistics show that meth can trigger a surge in other crimes: In Oregon, a staggering 85 percent of property crime, as well as a majority of muggings, car thefts and identity thefts, have been linked to the drug.
If not for the revelations, watch to support what is probably the best current affairs program on television, and OPB's own journalistic development. We could use another voice of reality around here...