Advertise:   712.224.5420

Lance Morgan: Indian Country now has the 'Meth Diet'

Ed. Note: Lance Morgan is the CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., the economic development corporation of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Morgan is Winnebago.

On the drug meth has been a big topic lately. There was a special session on meth and its impact at the Washington, D.C., meeting of the National Congress of American Indians.

I have touched on meth several times in my column for the Winnebago Indian News, our tribal paper, but always in a "why the hell would people do that to themselves way." The sullen look of the toothless, receding gums and sore covered face of the sleepy and unemployed is never a good look for anyone.

But I noticed something the other day, about meth and its impact on our thinking in our community that kind of scares me. I know someone who got thrown in jail for drugs, dried out, and then went to treatment. I went to visit them and the first thing I noticed is that they gained significant weight. I even said "Hey, you're getting kind of chubby. That�s great."

The rez can be a strange place sometimes. It occurred to me that in the last few years I have thought that people gaining weight has been a healthy and positive sign before. Of course this goes contrary to everything we are being taught about health and weight gain, but since meth causes you to lose weight, it has the strange impact of transforming weight gain into a healthy sign.

The impact on our thinking doesn�t stop there though. It also makes weight loss, especially rapid weight loss, a very suspicious activity in our community. If someone loses weight and you haven�t seen them at the track or at Whirling Thunder, the tribe's wellness center, it looks bad. Now that I think about it, I have to admit that I have wondered and gossiped before about people losing weight and if they are doing drugs.

There is the South Beach Diet, the Adkins Diet, and now we have the Meth Diet.

I don�t mean to try and make light of this, I just wanted to point out how this drug has crept so quickly into our thinking that it has dramatically impacted the way we view a simple thing like a healthy weight. I don�t know when this happened, but it has definitely slowly evolved in the last few years.

When this little observation occurred to me, I thought it was witty and ironic and that I would write a funny column about it. But now that I think about it, it isn�t funny. I It is actually quite sad that this drug has impact so many families lives and our thinking, and yet we still do so little about it. I didn�t grow up thinking this way about drugs and weight, but unfortunately our kids are.

Relevant Links:
National Congress of American Indians -
Montana Meth Project -
Methamphetamine Facts, National Institute on Drug Abuse -

Related Stories:
Tribes face new danger in methamphetamine (3/7)
Update from NCAI winter session in Washington (02/28)
NCAI meets in Washington for winter session (02/27)
Drug trafficking ring busted on Pine Ridge Reservation (02/24)
Editorial: Canada to blame for reservation drugs (2/23)
Jourdain blasts comments in NYT story on drugs (2/21)
NY Times: Drug trafficking in Indian Country (2/20)
Tom Heffelfinger to step down as U.S. Attorney (02/15)
Garcia turns to Four Directions to guide Indian Country (02/03)
Tribal judge expected to enter plea in drug case (01/31)
St. Croix Band hears dangers of methamphetamine (01/19)
Chippewa Cree Tribe launches anti-meth campaign (01/12)
Tribe's public defender held on meth charges (01/04)
Tribe's public defender charged in meth conspiracy (12/21)
Lummi Nation burns house that was used to sell drugs (12/02)
Opinion: Tribes, state to combat meth problem (11/28)
Washoe Tribe joins fight against meth (11/01)
Crow Chairman: 'We have a meth epidemic' (10/26)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe hosts meth summit (10/07)
NAIHC expands program to deal with meth problem (09/29)
U.S. claims 400 meth arrests in 'Operation Wildfire' (08/31)
Washoe Tribe says meth invading communities (08/18)
Methamphetamine called a big problem for tribes (8/11)
Navajo Nation counts 32 active gangs, 500 members (08/05)
Reservation meth dealer given life prison sentence (07/08)
Nevada tribe concerned about methamphetamine use (06/22)
Plan seeks to combat meth problem in Montana (03/22)
Navajo police find methamphetamine in car (03/04)
Meth use a serious problem among Native youth (02/25)
Officials praise Navajo methamphetamine law (2/21)
Navajo Nation Council passes methamphetamine law (02/14)
Methamphetamine use explodes on reservation (2/7)
Idaho tribe to sign law enforcement agreement (02/03)
Navajo Nation peyote, meth legislation on hold (11/11)
Reservations called breeding ground for meth (11/08)
Navajo community worried about meth trafficking (10/20)
Film to expose dangers of meth on Navajo Nation (06/17)
Task force cracks drug rings in Indian Country (06/07)
Authorities bust drug ring on Oklahoma tribal land (05/06)
Calif. tribe, local police break up drug ring (01/29)
Tribe turns to banishment to battle drugs (1/19)