Unnatural disaster: Methamphetamine violence and crime

A family of seven that I knew was on vacation and traveling by car. A semi tractor and trailer came up behind them at a high rate of speed and he wasn’t slowing down. He bore down upon their station wagon. There was no way that the driver of that semi couldn’t have seen the children in the back of that vehicle.

The terrified family was forced to speed through a very dangerous stretch of winding Ontario highway that had been built through the rocky terrain. An accident there was usually bad. The driver finally managed to find a way to egress the highway and got his family out of harms way.

Some years later, I had an opportunity to listen to a former trucker who told me about how he used to carry an attache case full of pills, mostly speed that kept him awake and hurtling down the highway.

As I listened to him, I thought of the family who had almost been run off the highway. It all made sense. That driver had to have been high to do what he did to them.

Fast forward again, a person I know is murdered. I worked with him through an organization where I was his sponsor and helped to guide him. The last time we spoke, he was going back to school. I never heard from him after that and thought it was because he was busy with school and a new chapter in his life. This was not an uncommon event when sponsoring people.

I read the regional news one day and there was a sentencing report briefly noted. For some reason, I thought of my sponsee and ran a search on his name.

Around sixteen months earlier, he had been murdered by a couple of meth heads. Because of how I knew him and the anonymity involved, no one knew to call me. I read the account of his death and cried for days.

He had survived a beating as a youth that left him near dead and with permanent disability. He was brain injured. One side of his body was severely impaired. He walked with a pronounced limp.

He was also determined to be better. He was known by his smile and positive nature. What he survived as a youth didn’t beat the goodness out of him.

He lived independently in a rooming house. He opened his door that day because he still trusted the world.

His teacher had to call the police and tell them that the body they found was of a disabled man. He had been beaten so badly that they couldn’t recognize his condition prior to the attack. A male and a female inflicted those injuries.

I remember biker crank in the 60’s. We used to shake our heads at the fools who used that garbage. We called them “tweakers.”

Today, meth has become the new “zombie apocalypse.” 

Heroin addicts will try to steal your purse. One of my aunts was accosted and beaten about the head in Vancouver, BC by a couple of heroin addicts, but not so severely that she couldn’t gain control the situation and tell them, “I will give you some money, but you may not have my hand bag.”

This is not the case with meth users. There was a case in Winnipeg MB where a man was abducted off the street at 9:00 p.m., held and tortured for twelve hours. He managed to escape the house where he was being held when his kidnappers left him alone in order to raid his bank account using his information.

There is an extreme level of violence associated with meth use.

Meth users will attack you because they are in a state of psychoses. Their thoughts and emotions have become so impaired that they have lost touch with reality. 

Psychosis is characterized by hallucinations and paranoia. This state of mind can be present in paranoid schizophrenia.  However, a meth psychosis co-occurs with meth usage and usually abates once the user is withdrawn off the drug. That process can take hours or up to a week, unless there are other underlying conditions involved that have been triggered by the meth usage.

Meth users can become psychotic if they have used a lot of meth or if they are in a withdrawal stage and just about anything in between. They are unstable and unpredictable. There is no way for any of us to know when a meth user is going to break with reality and become psychotic.

As with other reasons for being prepared, I wanted to stay prepared and safe in view of this new threat and that meant educating myself about the threat.

To do that, I first wanted to understand why meth use had become popular again. I read a six-part series in The Oregonian which was a very thorough investigative report on the methamphetamine crisis.

I reviewed Faces of Meth which was started by a member of the Multnomah Country Sheriffs’ office so that I could recognize the physical characteristics of meth users. 

I read medical information on how meth affects people so that I could recognize a meth addict faster.

There is not one singular demographic that applies. Meth users can be educated, young or old and from any walk of life.

A person in a meth induced state of psychosis can speak rapidly and ramble from one topic to the next. Their conversation may be very hard to follow. They may be restless, agitated and very jumpy.

They may be up for days and then crash hard. When they are coming down off a meth binge, meth users can be particularly dangerous.

Their beliefs may be very odd or unusual with a paranoid belief that others are out to get them.

They like to take things apart and their yards may be scattered with disassembled items. Inside their homes, they may have dug through walls to “trace” the electrical or to follow some other bizarre train of thought.

Meth users may pick at or scratch at their skin because they feel like there are bugs crawling on them.

Many but not all meth users are thin. They may have sores on their faces or limbs from picking at the skin.

They may have plucked their eyebrows and eyelashes out or sections of their hair. They may have shaved parts of their head or done other bizarre things to their appearance.

Their facial skin becomes prematurely lined and aged in appearance and their eyes take on a “crazed” appearance.

Dental issues are common with many users missing teeth or displaying rotted teeth. It is unknown why jaw deterioration continues in some users long after they have ceased using this drug.

Meth users are extremely hard to take down. Police can deploy their tasers multiple times while grappling with a meth user and it has little to no effect. It takes multiple officers to restrain and control the psychotic meth user and often police are injured in the process.

Medical personnel who must cope with them are also often injured and it is a real problem in hospital emergency wards.

I looked into the existence of meth users in my small town and found that we were not immune. We had them living among us and I wanted to be proactive about protecting myself.

My home security was bumped up to prevent home invasion by fortifying my doors.

My husband and I ran drills over how to react in various situations inside and outside our home, as well as at various times of day, including being awakened. We use each other’s second name as a code word that means 911 now, no questions asked. 

I ensured that I had access to items that could be rapidly deployed to inflict a knock out strike. This is one situation where there is no way I am getting in close to someone in combat. I am keeping something between me and them.

Aside from carrying knives, meth users have a preternatural strength borne of their altered state. This meant I had to mentally prepare to use extreme force on someone of any age or gender who might outwardly appear to be physically frail and thin.

I am working on arranging legal access to a gun for protection.

In the case of the man who was abducted at 9:00 p.m. referenced above, Constable Tammy Skrabek, a spokesperson for the Winnipeg police “called the case unique and said the “regular safety messages” police give, like being aware of your surroundings, wouldn’t have made a difference for the victim.”

“In this case, he was paying attention; it was just not expected that these people were going to grab him,” she said.”

I respectfully disagree with Constable Skrabek’s conclusion. I lived in Winnipeg for many years and no one wanders around certain areas on foot and alone at 9:00 p.m. if they possess any situational awareness or common sense. Winnipeg was called “murder capital of Canada” for a reason.

Secondly, situational awareness would have prevented those two men getting anywhere near the victim. 

The abductors had to pull up and then pull him in off the street. That meant parking their vehicle and both of them exiting the vehicle. This wasn’t a six person abduction. A person with street smarts who was paying attention to his environment would have been gone as soon as that vehicle angled towards him and before they had a chance to park.

I ramped up my situational awareness whether in my small town or in an urban area over and above my regular vigilance. I watch closely for signs of meth users around me by their appearance and behavior.

I check my yard for any drug paraphernalia. 

Meth users were paid to piece shredded documents together so the data could be used or sold in the criminal marketplace. They have the ability to fixate and do this under the influence of meth.

I purchased a new shredder. Now any paper with any information including shipping and receiving is shredded on a high quality shredder that prevents the pieces from being restored. I also shred any medication labels or any prescription bags or information.

I put new protocols in place for picking up medication after my husband was almost assaulted in the drug store parking lot. They two people involved are confirmed meth users.

I also hold the local police accountable and have used my security cameras to report meth distribution activity at a house in my neighborhood. They are aware of it, but it is being handled through their drug enforcement channels.

Drug enforcement operates on a work your way up the ladder methodology. They catch the small time addicts, get three names, and keep climbing until they get the big fish higher up.

This is understandable, but it does take time, sometime years, for change to trickle back down to the community level. Some drug houses are left to operate for that reason.

In the interim, all of us need to approach the threats associated with meth usage as we do any other threat: we educate and prepare ourselves.


  • Comments (16)

    • 4

      Good morning Ubique,

      Here it’s just about impossible to recognize a meth user in a public setting. The area’s population is intermingled with those on prescribed RX pharma, illegal drug use, the overconsumption of alcoholic beverages and other groups.  One of the “other groups” a few years ago was selected military especially aviators and special forces. Provigil and the rest of the “stay-awake” pills … had a continued use after returning home.

      Common denominators for preparedness are paramount.  It’s economical to consolidate errands but now it is also advantegeous to place safety ahead of economy. One’s dwelling must be a castle with moat equivalent.

      As far as an actual solution – I don’t know.

      • 3

        Good morning Bob,

        I believe the solution is to include the dangers of meth users in our op-sec and be prepared. We prepare for everything else, so why not this?

        I don’t practice the “buffet style of preparedness,” selecting only certain aspects of preparedness that my sensibilities can handle. Preparedness is not a game, especially the security aspect of it. If TSHTF, we will have one chance to survive in a bad situation.

        And if anyone is sitting back, thinking that they will just shoot the meth head, you better hope you can shoot fast and lethal first shot. What will happen if there are two or three psychotic meth users attacking? They move very rapidly when they attack. Preppers need to think long and hard about my point regarding tasers not taking them down even after being deployed six times.

        Not to be indelicate here, but meth users who have attacked either use knives or have beaten people into a pulp using their bare hands. The stomach turning news accounts of meth user murders and assaults underscored just how deadly they can become. Something to consider also is that the attacks can occur at any time of day or night because of how the drug affects their ability to sleep.

        What I also discovered in my research is that a psychotic meth user has an ability to attack and deliver blows or stab in a very rapid way. So if attacked, you are going to go down very rapidly unless you have prepared.

        First and foremost is always avoid and escape.

        Realistically, that may not always be possible. I hardened my security response despite the fact that my existing physical response is alreaady based heavily on the militaristic side of martial arts training.

        I had to prepare myself to fight with someone who looks thin and frail, but is preternaturally strong due to the effect of the meth.

        There is a psychology to the visual appearance of the meth user that must be overcome. Usually, people think of predators at the big hulking boogey-man. In order to prepare, it is imperative to understand that the meth head coming at you isn’t some emaciated little flower.

        The other way I have prepared to defend against attack by a meth user is to review and train in ways that are not for the faint hearted and reserved for dire situations, such as blinding my opponent. They may be hard to take down, but I can survive if they can’t see me.

        I now include the ability to “soften them up at bit” from a safe distance using improvised weapons that can be deployed without getting up close and personal. But that strategy is debatable.

        I still have to speak with some contacts to determine if even that strategy is viable. If LEO’s can’t take them down with a taser adminstered 6 times, then my strategy may need to be revised. 

        People who prepare need to understand the psychosis underscoring the effect of this particular drug. It’s like playing hacky-sack with a grenade. These meth users may be an annoyance in the background, but you never know when one or more will go off.

        The scope of other disasters may not always be recognizable, but we still prepare for them.

        The meth violence issue is a disaster and it is killing and debilitating people. I can’t understand how anyone wouldn’t be proactive.

        I think society is becoming indifferent to the dangers of meth user attacks, because this unnatural disaster has slowly spread, like global warming.

        It gets closer and closer. You feel more effects. You begin to see the effects of it around you. But, it’s not that bad yet. It’s in the background, part of the urban or rural landscape. You get used to it because that’s what we all do when we think something like global warming has happened. We’re going to try to fix it, but it’s there, bigger than all of us – an unnatural disaster.

        The difference with meth as an unnatural disaster is the consequence of violence as an effect.

        Your area sounds a lot like the area of BC I lived in. We were a tourist playland with beaches, lakes, great climate, and more organized crime than you could shake a stick at. Drugs were rampant. But, meth wasn’t the issue back then, and “back then” wasn’t that long ago. Then the locals became annoyed because meth heads were going throught their recycling and stealing their bar-b-ques.

        Today is it much worse with meth heads popping up in tent cities in neighborhoods. Any one of them is potentially murderous due to the psychosis attached to their drug of choice.

        The Oregonian 6 part article is very informative, particularly in the historical aspect of why we are in this mess. I will post this reply and see if I can find it. If I do, I will post it.

        I wonder if anyone is considering the impact of this on long term care and health care in general. Meth users are going to eventually be a big burden on our health care systems for effects of the toxic waste they have been ingesting.

        This wasn’t included in my post, but I wonder how many people are checking the homes they purchase or rent to determine if it was ever occupied by meth users or dealers. Considering the toxic dump that residences become because of the exposure to this drug, it might be a good idea to know that. One sheriff quoted between 40,000 to 60,000 USD to clean up an average home and that was over fifteen years ago.

        Moat, indeed. Beam me up Scotty, there is no intelligent life left on Earth.

      • 2

        Hi Bob,

        Found the article on this website. I also stand corrected it was a five not six part series. The takeaway from this article is that this was an avoidable epidemic. They could have stopped it in it’s tracks.


      • 3

        Good morning Ubique,

        I’ve read some of the source documents mentioned in Oregon series. I personally hold the SAMHSA mentioned study at link’s web sources.

        Of course this event was preventable. Other matters governed. It’s similiar to other drastic events like hurricanes. The dangers are caused by overbuilding, too large of concentrated populations, minimal public support systems like road crews, medical clinics. The meth crisis – and the cousins – pharma is up there with investment banks, hedge funds, other big ticket items.

        This isn’t clearly written because I’m prunning out some of the pure political material … although I’m not writing clearly even if explaining the real meaning of Jerry Garcia’s song group “The Grateful Dead”.

        US military suicides are a clear a matter to study. Veterans Medical Centers were prescribing oxycontin (a brand name of the basic oxycontone), follow-on detox was recommendation to smoke cigarettes.

        For pain one of the minimalist approaches by Veterans Medical Centers also was use of methodone.

        After the RX start of oxycontin, sales went above $1 billion.

        Preparedness nowadays means the understanding that the traditional drunk driver is no longer the traditional drunk driver. One of the benefits of our COVID pandemic is that enclosed shopping malls are avoided 100% for more than one reason.

      • 4

        Good morning Bob,

        The player pharma who contributed to the creation of this disaster and the organized crime, an entity that operates as a business: bottom line profit, (drop the price on crack when meth was hard to make) are the two elements who came together.

        “Grateful Dead” refers to the traveller who encounters the spirit of the corpse denied burial?

        Military and vets on this side also having big problems with addiction.

        The suicides are horrible. They need more support and help.

        The late Mark Elliott a Canadian broadcaster exposed the Ontario doctors who were getting $250.00 per head for every script of Methadone they wrote after addicing their patients to Oxycontin. That’s not medicine.

        Good point about the traditional drunk driver not being the traditional drunk driver. Something else to add to defensive driving.

      • 4

        Jerry Garcia was one of the first in contemporary times to introduce Aristitolean logic, as used here, to be fallacy. His group name REALLY meant =” = Be damn thankful that you’re still on the planet ! =”=. 

        This view is the school of thought I’m in. 

        Understand the Canadian military’s problems with the addition also.

      • 3

        I never knew that about his band name. Thank you for telling me abou it.

        Gratitude is a good way to approach life. If that goes ahead of us, then how we follow is more balanced and realistic.

        I think the soldiers are getting it from stress. I don’t know what other contributing factors are in place, but some are having a tough time. There is a lot of domestic violence also. They need help.

      • 6

        Good morning Ubique,

        Most definitely society is – down here: already has – becomming indifferent to attacks by meth users.

        The health care and long-term care of the drug addicts … all types here … are already being addressed,  It is a social Darwinism approach and a politically charged matter. Examples can’t be provided here.

        Here, many meth heads are armed.

        My view is for max effort to escape scene and confrontation.  Daylight hours are safest for fleeing since more people around with some responding to a siren and strobe light.

        Our drug crime problem also has demographic features on display. I would not shoot, taser or punch a cattle prod into someone down here. The results would be my end result being worse.

      • 4

        Good morning Bob,

        I forgot that you would be dealing with armed ones. I feel really bad for what you are up against. That is a whole other level of security.

        Agreed, that the focus has to be escape, evade and avoid. The problem for me is when it becomes a home invasion.

        We are not allowed to shoot, taser or cattle prod.

        The maxium measures I can use are only if my home is broken into and only if the presiding judge decides it was warranted. That last part is the scary part of our laws and we live in times where other factors are coming into play over those decisions (hard to discuss).

        I could be imprisoned for trying to save my life or husband’s life. Throw my past training into the mix and I’m finished. What is the choice if someone is breaking into a person’s home and clearly intends violence?

        As in any home invasion, meth head or not, I’m not waiting until I’m incapacitated to fight back. If necessary, I will defend to give husband time and a chance to escape with our dog and summon help.

        If the worst happens, and the judge rules that my actions were not warranted, then it is easier for me to accept the consequences than my husband who, by age and health would not cope well. It’s not a choice for me, it is a responsibility to protect my small family unit.

        The strobe light you mentioned was something I had wondered about in the past regarding defending or I should say driving a person away. There is a hand held one that Lee Valley used to sell that can fit on a belt and holds a charge for a long time.

        I don’t know if it would work on someone under the influence of meth and psychotic. I need to do some psych nurses reading for how they handle this kind of emergency on the ward.

        I tracked the name through the old catalogue “Suprabeam”. It has a Hz strobe and not a blinking light.


      • 5

        Good morning Ubique,

        In practical terms, here also. It’s usually unlawful to hurt someone especially if medical care involved like EMTs taking an assassilant to the hospital.

        There are 2 aspects to this – and many neglect the second aspect. They are 1. Legal and 2. Financial. Whatever the results of the legal matters, the financial aspect still kicks in. Loss of home and etc is common enough.

        A well established prepper would consider being loaded with insurance and “pre-paid legal”.

        Just glanced at the linked Suprabeam website. Here, I’d recommend a private citizen prepper to NEVER carry anything with a manufactured and advertised “strike bezel”. This is only my personal view.

      • 3

        Good afternoon Bob,

        Thank you for the catch on that flashlight – I did not see that. I wouldn’t have thought that it would be in Lee Valley. Perhaps that is why they discontinued it? I will look for a better alternative.

        My search for psych nursing care practice was a frustrating loop and I landed back in my previously bookmarked research from several years ago. The link is from an Australian website and the “how to protect yourself” advice is a non-combative approach to coping if one is unable to avoid or is surprised by an encounter with a person who is under the influence of meth and also psychotic.

        A key takeaway for me was remembering that they can be anxious in that state. So, it I’m thinking one could buy time to escape or evade if remaining calm voiced. I had to do that one time.

        I have a range of reactions to medications. One of my doctors once told me that it would take an elephant tranquilizer to take me down. That proved fortunate for me when I was drugged and attacked by a man I briefly dated. This was before I trained. I was around 19.

        He had drugged me (I had one drink) but I wasn’t going down fast enough. What happened next was so fast, it felt like the space of a couple of heartbeats. 

        He drove me up the side of the jaw (tried to knock me out), lifted me up, spun me around and put me into a sleeper hold. He was behind me. He drove my head to the left, over his bicep. I heard a tremendous crack. Somehow I dropped down and then I was facing him and he was in front of me.

        I remember saying “What the **** is the matter with you? Are you cra…?” I stopped talking because in the time it took to say those words I made eye contact with him. There was nothing there. I had never seen eyes like that.

        His eyes were cold and devoid of warmth. It was at that point I realized that he wasn’t looking at me as if I mattered or could suffer. He was looking at me as if I were his prey.

        I kept my voice calm and told him “______, I am hurt. I need to go the hospital.” I couldn’t speak well because the right side of my face was numb. My words also sounded slurred.

        He kept coming slowly towards me. I was being backed into a corner of his kitchen. I remember being afraid of being cornered near a room situated off his kitchen. It was like a narrow pantry.

        He said “Only I can fix your neck.”

        Again, I spoke calmly, “No _____. I need to go to the hospital.” My back hit the wall behind me. I had no room to move so I looked towards the back door. I remember his gaze followed mine. Later, in training I understood to control my eye movements as that signaled intent and direction.

        Just before I was going to make a run for it, he turned and walked out. I finally went down after he left. I think he stopped because he saw from my face that whatever he drugged me with was taking effect.

        What saved my life was my metabolism and how I process drugs. I didn’t stay down as long as he expected. I still remember seeing the hole he dug in his crawlspace.

        There is more to this story, but these are the basics of my encounter with him.

        I learned from that experience that psychopaths are real and very dangerous. They can appear normal when it suits them as he did, but in retrospect, there were warning signs. 

        The state that he entered prior to attacking me did have signals, but I didn’t realize what those signals meant at the time. We were sitting around his kitchen table before leaving to go out for supper. I had planned to inform him that I wanted to stop dating him that night over supper. Maybe his predator instincts picked up on something even though I thought I was hiding my feelings.

        Before the attack, he began to ramble and what he said was odd. He also tried to poison me (from the police lab results) and was pushing me to take these mushrooms he had.

        It was a strange experience. Staying calm was about all I could do in the condition and situation I was in. Keeping my voice calm was better than if I started screaming. I think he would finished me off rapidly if I had done that.

        So maybe it is the same with meth psychosis.  If the situation is unavoidable, speak calmly and try to manoeuver out of proximity and away from the meth user who is psychotic.

        Anyway, here is the link:


      • 6

        Yikes, that is a frightful story, Ubique. Kudos to you for rising above it and determining how not to be further victimized, indeed even to advising others. I’m struck by how many preppers had a traumatic event of some kind that has made them aware of “what lies beneath,” and fuels their thoughtful planning to reduce risk of harm from a wide range of danger. 

      • 2


        It is frightful he was charged with “assault with intent to kill,” and he got off. Because of my experience in court, I went on to volunteer in victim services later in life.

        I agree that many preppers are survivors and seek to prepare and control future risk and danger.

        I have survived multiple criminal acts and violence with the first at twelve years old by a doctor. There were multiple “near misses” that also shaped who I am as a prepper.

        It is why I am so concerned about the security side of prepping as well as advance consideration of situations that are dangerous in order to prepare for them.

        The fact is that very bad things can happen and for various reasons.

        There are many incidents that go unreported because many who survive are ashamed to report crimes. They blame themselves, as if they made a mistake and that it is somehow their fault. I know because I did exactly that with some of the incidents I survived.

        Most them occurred between 12 years old and through to my early 20’s, with a domestic situation in my 40’s. I did 10 years of therapy. It was only a year ago that I could finally write about my experiences and what I have survived. I did that to help others avoid these situations if possible and also for those who have survived, so they would know that they are not alone.

        I share some of this here, because I know survivors and prepping go hand-in-glove.

        It is not a comfortable side of prepping, but I can’t see how else to prepare for these kinds of incidents.

        I believe that in certain disasters predators will take advantage of people in trouble. Awareness can help stop them.

        Thank you for replying CR.

      • 5

        You’re very welcome! Your bravery in speaking out and educating others will help stop the cycle. Hopefully people will hear the warnings and be able to avoid such situations themselves, or gain the courage to move on from past trauma and find renewed purpose in their lives, as it sounds like you have done. 

      • 3

        Good afternoon Ubique,

        When a 19 year old, that “date” / the event, was surely governed by fate. If you lost consciousness ……

        Just glanced at the Aussie site and spent some time at the “Protect Yourself” section.

        The prepper is not in as safe an environment as the clinical setup.  The prepper must deal with presumption when, for example going grocery shopping or getting gasoline for vehicle. 

        – There could be more than one threat

        – Person(s) might not speak English.

        My presumption is always consider threats to be armed and dangerous. If I pull into grocery store parking lot and have a “gut reaction” that something’s going on, list of errands rearranged. Situational awareness is key.

        The site’s guidance to speak in a calm voice,  use a non-confrontational body stance, … In a clinical setting where much is known about person, aforesaid MIGHT work.

        Here, the LEOs teach us “de-escalation” and parry-type maneuvers if being attacked. Can’t continue here.

        The manuals and books I have here involve NOT being alone – except for the Army’s Field Manual on hand-to-hand combat. The Army’s material is illegal for a private citizen to use.


        Just my guess,.. the suicides in the military were not occuring at the current levels only a couple of decades ago.  Soldiers were usually in stressful environments. Something else is going on…….at least, this is my guess.

      • 2

        Good evening Bob,

        I did lose conciousness, but I came to before he expected me to and I was able to get out of there before he came back.

        Good points on the Aussie site. I think it is coming down to avoidance which is what you have been saying all through this.

        You have access to training we don’t from the sound of it. Understood about the continuation. I may research that one.

        I think the stress has always been there for the military. It’s hard to know what is happening. Maybe some subtle exposure to something. Also a guess.