Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Killings, drug use-inspired term new for many in county

5/15/2013

News coverage of last week’s quadruple homicide discovery in rural Franklin and Osage counties, no doubt, introduced some readers to the use of a word they don’t frequently encounter. The term “tweaking” most commonly refers to adjusting or fine tuning something a little more until it is just right. That could mean tweaking a document, an appliance or even a recipe, but it has an alternate meaning according to the online “Urban Dictionary,” as well as many in younger generations.

“Tweaking” also refers to being under the influence of methamphetamine. People who are tweaking might be highly agitated, twitchy, panicky, over-energized  and/or in an wakeful state with rapid breathing. Some tweakers twitch, grind their teeth, pace and are paranoid. Some even compulsively and obsessively pick at their skin, and consequently have lesions. Regular meth users also have a gaunt appearance and meth-mouth, with rotten and decaying teeth. Long-term meth use can make users delusional and violent, too.

News coverage of last week’s quadruple homicide discovery in rural Franklin and Osage counties, no doubt, introduced some readers to the use of a word they don’t frequently encounter. The term “tweaking” most commonly refers to adjusting or fine tuning something a little more until it is just right. That could mean tweaking a document, an appliance or even a recipe, but it has an alternate meaning according to the online “Urban Dictionary,” as well as many in younger generations.

“Tweaking” also refers to being under the influence of methamphetamine. People who are tweaking might be highly agitated, twitchy, panicky, over-energized  and/or in an wakeful state with rapid breathing. Some tweakers twitch, grind their teeth, pace and are paranoid. Some even compulsively and obsessively pick at their skin, and consequently have lesions. Regular meth users also have a gaunt appearance and meth-mouth, with rotten and decaying teeth. Long-term meth use can make users delusional and violent, too.

Those are some of the behaviors and characteristics that have been attributed to Kyle T. Flack, 27, Ottawa, who is being held in the Franklin County Detention Center for killing four people, including an 18-month-old child.

Though the availability of some ingredients might have reduced the number of big meth cookers locally, the homemade drug’s availability is plentiful. Nearby Missouri has earned the nationwide title of “meth belt” with the highest number of meth incidents — including labs and dumpsites — in the United States.

Whether tweakers call their drug of choice meth or any one of its other street names — speed, chalk, ice, crystal or glass — it clearly is highly addictive and quickly can ruin someone’s life regardless of their stature in the community.

Tweakers aren’t people who should be taken for granted and instead need intervention. Though the number of meth labs has declined in the Sunflower State, Kansas — particularly its rural areas — is ripe for meth production. That’s why it is important to continue to support our nation’s war on drugs with particular emphasis on meth, so lives can be saved and more innocent words don’t earn more sinister meanings and negative connotations.

 

— Jeanny Sharp, editor and publisher

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