Recovering meth addicts give real look at Breaking Bad's central drug

Posted at: 08/11/2013 10:43 PM | Updated at: 08/12/2013 12:00 AM
By: Nicole Brady, KOB Eyewitness News 4 and Staff

Breaking Bad has given people across the globe an “interesting” introduction to Albuquerque.

Some wonder, is meth a big problem in our city?

The truth is meth is a drug easily found in this city, and in many other cities.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 sat down with recovering addicts for a real look at the impact of the drug at the center of “Breaking Bad.”

For five seasons we have been captivated by two characters.

Those characters are family man and drug kingpin Walter White, and junkie turned right hand man Jessie Pinkman.  

We have watched them evolve and followed them into a dark underworld.

On the show that world is Albuquerque and in real life Albuquerque is home to some similar characters.

The Duke City has real life drug dealers, drug makers, and drug addicts battling the real effects of methamphetamine.

“I don’t know, it just grabbed me,” said a recovering addict who only wanted to go by “Danny.” “It just made sense, I don’t know how else to explain it, it was powerful.”

“The first time I smoked it the clouds parted, and I felt like I could get stuff done,” said a recovering female addict who did not want to be named.

Meth is a stimulant, users describe the high as euphoric, but it never lasts.

The effects of meth can be ugly and are well depicted in the show.

“The dirtiness of some of the characters, like not bathing, that stuff is definitely real, it’s definitely what happens in that lifestyle,” said former addict Jeffrey Holland.

Breaking Bad has explored that side of meth, but the show has mostly focused on the drug trade, which is a side that is also alive and well in Albuquerque.

Danny, who has been in recovery for two years, is on probation for trafficking meth.

“I was selling probably a couple pounds a week. I was making, probably $7 or 8 thousand dollars a week,” said Danny.

It seemed like a perfect way to get his meth and to pay his bills.

Kind of like how Walter White thought, he would just make a little extra money for his family.

“What's real accurate to real life is how it escalates, how when he first got into it he was just trying to help his family because he thought he was going to die, and it escalated from that,” Danny said.

He relates to Walter’s story in that respect and the loss of control, which is a universal experience for drug addicts.

“You don't deviate from the end game too much when you're living the life of an addict,” said Holland.

Holland now runs the Endorphin Power Company recovery center in Albuquerque.

He knows the path addicts walk down, is not one they all come back from.

The female former addict did not make it on the first try.

“I went to an extremely expensive treatment center out of state and I did not stay clean,” she said. “It’s amazing how it can really change you to a different person you know.”

For five years we have watched Walter White’s transformation into a different person

We now wonder, with just a few episodes left, how true to life his end will be.

Will it be prison or death?

Those two options seem the most likely for the character.

In real life though, there is some hope for those who make it out of that dark underworld.

“It is possible, anything is possible,” said the woman.

“They say it takes some time to heal from it, and i don't know if you can ever heal 100 percent, but I definitely feel a whole lot better than I used to,” Danny said.

For more information about the Endorphin Power Company and meth treatments in Albuquerque click here.



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