Nick Reding book the “Methland” revealed the extent of methamphetamine farming, distribution, and consumption that was taking place in Oelwein, Iowa. The book uses Oelwein as a case study and an example of other small towns. In such towns, farmers have turned to easy ways of making money without paying attention to the social and economic impacts of their actions. The book raises the attention of the reader to the issue of drugs in society, which is a problematic issue. There is no doubt drugs have a severe impact in our society. What is of great concern is why some people, like those in Oelwein, have chosen to engage in methamphetamine farming instead of spending their efforts in legal business. Reding’s exposition of the methamphetamine farming brings to light reasons why the people of Oelwein have decided to farm the product and process them in the illegal laboratories. Nonetheless, the book points at the negative effect of methamphetamine farming such as a soaring rate of divorce, addiction, and destruction. It is clear that methamphetamine farming affects society in several ways, but it is the economic hurdles that push people into this practice making them oblivious of their self-destruction.
In rural town such as Oelwein, many farmers practice methamphetamine farming because they earn little income from producing other farm products. It is probable that most people will question why people grow methamphetamine in their farm, process and sell them to drug cartels. However, many farmers have faced a big challenge on how to make money that can help them meet their needs. Apart from the farmers, many immigrants had little access to jobs and being part of drug cartels was the only chance for them to earn a living. Because of this challenge, methamphetamine farming offers an easy and lucrative opportunity for farming to make easy cash despite the activity being illegal. In the case of Oelwein, many farmers contend with a lot of work that gives them a poor pay. On the other hand, methamphetamine farming makes them earn a lot of money within a short period. In the town of Oelwein, the collapse of rural economy motivated individuals like Arnold to create a network for creating and selling methamphetamine (Reding ). However, this made the town have many addicts who are struggling to fight addiction and evade arrest as most cases under prosecutions are related to drugs. The lack of legal opportunities for local to make money points at the severity of economic decline. However, it does not give credence to the practice of methamphetamine farming, which has made some city dweller grow dependence on drugs. Arguably, the problem of addiction or arrest is of little significance to some people who believe that their economic woes justifies why they should make money from drugs. For instance, Lori Arnold, a drug trafficker find selling the drug a perfect job that gives him significant earnings. However, he seems not to care about the many people who are becoming dependent on the methamphetamine he traffics.
Due to economic pressures that make people work for long hours, methamphetamine farming provides many people with an opportunity to stay awake and work for long hours. Oelwein had a population of 6,772 people and most of them had poor jobs. Because of the poor jobs, most people lived in abject poverty and working for long hours became the only solution. Because most of the jobs had poor pay, most of the town dwellers had to work for long hours to meet their financial obligations and provide for their families. Reding report that “seven in ten children” lived below the poverty line (12). With the severity of poverty, most of the people had to contend with long working hours to earn considerable income. Because of the need to stay alert and awake, many workers resolved to turn to methamphetamine. This drug is a powerful stimulant that keeps people awake because it brought excitement to its users. The demand for this drug motivated the rise of the methamphetamine farming in Oelwein, which became a reliable occupation for many people. The demand for methamphetamine appeared to provide workers with the opportunity of earning more money from work. Even so, it created other problems as many workers become addicted to the drug forcing some of them to quit their jobs. In addition, the use of methamphetamine created a vicious cycle where workers could spend their money in buying the drugs while hoping they would make more money. Workers like Roland Jarvis turned into a cook of methamphetamine in his house. The result was a dramatic rise of poverty that made many children at high school in need federal school lunch (Reding 12).Whereas the desire to stay awake and earn huge salaries made people demand for methamphetamine, it exposed them to poverty putting their society at the verge of collapse. Indeed, a sincere desire to earn better pays pushed locals of small town into methamphetamine production, which leads to a rise in poverty that affects many aspects of their society.