“Substance abuse probably touches about 90 percent of the cases in my office, even if those aren't the charges we file,” Cook said. “Somewhere in that person's life, substance abuse usually comes to play. Sometimes it is less tragic than the case of the Holloways, but it can be anything.”
Robbery, burglary, domestic abuse, assault, murder — whatever the crime — drugs are usually an element, and methamphetamine is the No. 1 drug involved, Cook said.
Authorities seized 15 pounds of meth Wednesday while breaking up a large drug ring in central Oklahoma connected to a Mexican drug cartel, Weaver said. Investigators think the group was moving as much as 25 pounds of meth into the state every week, enough to get thousands of people high.
Unlike cocaine or heroin, drugs of choice for troubled celebrities and rock stars, meth doesn't have a romantic image anywhere, Weaver said.
“Even in Hollywood, it's portrayed as something very ugly,” Weaver said. “But people don't realize how addictive it is.”
Cook said he has discussed the problem with many meth addicts who take part in substance abuse programs through his office.
“The people that have been on meth tell me the number of times it takes to use it before you get hooked is one,” Cook said. “If you are out and have a few beers and smoke some marijuana and someone says, ‘Here, try this,' that can be enough.”
Once someone is hooked, they often devote their lives to chasing that high.
The other reason meth has become such an epidemic is its availability, Weaver said. Someone might start by smoking meth made by a friend and then move on to more potent varieties brought in by Mexican drug cartels.
“It's everywhere,” Weaver said. “You can't produce cocaine or heroin in Oklahoma. You can produce methamphetamine in your bathtub.”
Home meth production leads to fires, explosions and chemical contamination.
The chase for a high by addicts causes property crimes by those desperate for the money to pay for their habit. And the strength of meth's effects can cause a situation like the one that claimed the lives of Denver and Martha Holloway.
“There are very few drugs that I've seen in my time in office that have as much destructive impact as methamphetamine, not just to the person that takes it but to the entire community,” Cook said. “It goes on and on. People get robbed. People get killed. We see the destruction that it creates every day.”