Life or meth

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 29, 2006

Imagine staying awake for seven to ten days at a time. Imagine moving from place to place and not being able to hold down a job. Imagine losing 15 pounds in one week. Imagine completely burning two different kitchens because of what you are cooking.

Imagine needing $300 a day to support a methamphetamine addiction.

But this is not imagination. This is a reality.

For Randall Scott McGough, 28, of Luverne, this reality became his way of life from 2000 until his arrest for the manufacturing and trafficking of methamphetamine on Feb. 28, 2003.

He is currently serving his three-year term in the Crenshaw County Jail.

&#8220You don't realize the things in life you lose while you're on it,” McGough said. &#8220My kids are number one to me, but while I was on it, I couldn't see that.”

McGough said that for the first two years, he was just a meth user.

&#8220I just bought it,” he said. &#8220But then I started doing so much, I couldn't afford to buy it, so I had to start making it myself to pay for my own use and to have the money to buy the supplies I needed.”

McGough spent $300 a day on meth.

&#8220That's why you have to make it, so you can support your own habit,” he said.

As a meth addict, McGough's lifestyle changed drastically.

&#8220I know that I was awake for 23 days straight at one time,” he said. &#8220Once you start coming down, you'll go to sleep for three or four days. Then, you wake up and start cooking again.”

One of the main ingredients in meth is the product pseudoephedrine, which can be found in many over-the-counter cold remedies. McGough said that back in 2003, before the drug laws made pseudoephedrine products harder to buy, he could buy it in any drug store or convenience store.

&#8220Wal-Mart in Greenville and the one in Troy were my main two suppliers in 2003,” McGough said.

The person who makes meth to sell, according to McGough, is given all kinds of things from meth users in order to trade for the drug.

&#8220I was brought a lot of car stereo equipment and TVs to trade for it,” he said. &#8220You know it's probably stolen, but you don't say anything. I had one guy to trade me a motorcycle for some meth one time. That was the biggest thing I ever got.”

McGough said that the most common street name for meth is &#8220chicken,” but he is not sure why it is called that. Also, a person who is at the height or peak of a meth high is referred to as &#8220geeking.”

&#8220Most of the time, when you're on it, you're working on something,” he said. &#8220I've done yard work in the middle of the night. I've cut grass at midnight. You've just got to be busy doing something.”

McGough said that meth users usually stay in during the daytime and become active during the night hours.

&#8220That's just the way everybody is who is on it,” he said. &#8220That's all you hang out with; other meth users. You only hang out with your own kind. It's like its own ‘meth society.'”

As far as the street prices, McGough said that a half of a gram of meth is $50, street value, but a half of a gram of cocaine is $20 to $25.

&#8220That's just the set price,” he said.

Some of the signs McGough said to look for in a meth user are violent mood swings and paranoia, plus the person always seems to be gone from home.

&#8220And, you don't look anybody in the eye,” he said. &#8220You don't want anybody to know.”

McGough, who stands at 5 feet 10 inches, went from 223 pounds down to 150 pounds during his meth addiction.

&#8220You don't want to eat,” he said. &#8220And, I really don't remember even wanting to drink water when

I was using. You just don't sleep. And you stay active the whole time you're high.”

McGough said that he was actually relieved when he was arrested in 2003.

&#8220I knew that was the only way my life would be saved.”

McGough credits Ronnie White and Robin Daniels, investigators with the Crenshaw County Sheriff's Department, with his recovery.

&#8220They basically saved my life because I never would have been able to get off of it by myself.”

&#8220I knew that I was slowly killing myself, even though I couldn't see it at the time,” he said. &#8220The best thing that ever happened to me was getting arrested. I still thank Ronnie and Robin for what they did for me. Three years in jail is a long time, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of my life.”

McGough said that he would love to know why the State of Alabama does not pay more attention to the ingredients that are used to make meth, that way maybe no one would be making it now.

&#8220Everything you put in it has a skull and crossbones on it, so why in the world would you put that in your body?” he said.

And the biggest lesson McGough has learned from his experience with meth?

&#8220What life means to me,” he said. &#8220Life to me is family. Now, I just love to watch my kids play in the dirt…it doesn't matter what they're doing…. just watching them and being with those who love you.”

&#8220I hope everyone will realize what I've been through and learn from my experiences,” he said. &#8220Look at me and see what meth will do to you. My hope is that others won't go down the same road I've been down because it hasn't been fun.”