Back when Tom Anderson was in the thick of his meth addiction, he was revered by everyone in his social circle. He said that he would walk into a party, and everyone would gather around him.

“That was part of the allure of it,” Anderson related. “I was the man.”

When he first started doing the drug, he said that it was more pure than what is currently being manufactured and distributed throughout cities and communities just like Graham. He said P2P, or phenylacetone based meth, was the more common form of the drug when he started using it 30 years ago.

In Anderson’s evaluation, P2P created a different high, one less diluted by paranoia. He said that one main difference in the meth being made these days involves its manufacturing process, which includes ingredients such as battery acid and fertilizer, elements that burn a hole in the frontal lobe of the brain.

Anderson’s wife, “Lori,” who also wishes to remain anonymous, was a meth addict off and on from 1989 until 2008. According to her, in was much easier to hold a job and not appear strung out while on the P2P version of meth than with its current manifestations.

“You could still go to work and you could function. You still had thought processes,” Lori said of P2P. “But when I relapsed in 2005 and started doing this “ice,” you can’t do anything. I lost the job I had for the last 10 years. I lost everything.”

She added that however damaging the P2P version of meth is, the new versions are far worse. Graham Police Chief Tony Widner has seen his share of meth addicts. In his opinion, the meth epidemic is also perpetuated by how easy it currently is to make it.

“I don’t think that you see too many lab technicians involved in the production of methamphetamine,” Widner said. “You’re looking at people that are finding recipes on the internet or other places, and then they’re getting as close as they can with their abilities and the resources they have available.”

Newer versions of meth are easier to make, and there are more people trying it, and that is probably why the Andersons believe that it is worse than past versions, Widner said, adding that both versions cause relatively similar detriment to the human body.

To help explain many of the repeat offenders in the recent burglary epidemic currently happening in our town, crimes perpetuated by those who many believe are addicted to methamphetamine, Anderson said that the drug is deceiving. He said that once meth addiction takes hold, it is almost impossible to turn away from it.

“People that say you can’t get addicted to it don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said. “You do it once, and you may be able to walk away. But you do it the second time, you’re hooked, and it’s got you. And when it’s got you, you don’t care about anything but getting the next high. You lose all sense of morals.”

Read the full version in Wednesday's Graham Leader.