This is your county on meth.

Media criticism.
Jan. 19 2006 10:14 PM

This Is Your County on Meth

Another bogus survey from the National Association of Counties.

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The Meth-Mouth Chronicles: While we're on the subject, let's see how accurately the press is defining "meth mouth." As I reported last summer, no evidence suggests that methamphetamine or its precursor compounds erode, corrode, or otherwise burn teeth. Even so, the press continues to report that urban myth as truth. (See the first cited item for my thesis.)

Here's a current selection of meth-mouth misinformation:

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For those who smoke meth, the chemicals eat away at teeth.— Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), Jan. 5, 2006

One of the major indicators of meth use, officials say, is a condition that has become known as "meth mouth." [Meth educator Bob] Nickisch, said this condition is one which can be easily recognized by dentists and health care professionals, as the harsh chemicals used in meth work to eat away the enamel of the teeth causing a rapid onset of tooth decay that is abnormal.— Black Hills Pioneer(South Dakota), Jan. 16, 2005

The use of meth can cause not only mental health problems such as depression or psychosis, but also long-term physical problems such as "meth mouth," a condition in which the teeth are burned away due to prolonged meth use.— Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), Jan. 5, 2006

Signs of methamphetamine use are prevalent in a user's mouth. The toxic chemicals used to make the drug irritate and burn the skin inside the mouth, creating sores that lead to infection.— Craig Daily Press (Colorado), Dec. 7, 2005

"Meth mouth" is the appearance of dark spots on the teeth and decay in the roots. The symptom is caused by acid in meth.— Eyewitness News 5 (St. Paul, Minn.), Nov. 17, 2005

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I started out on Burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff. Send your meth fables to slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.