AP IMPACT: Meth fills hospitals with burn patients

JIM SALTER Associated Press Published:

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A crude new method of making methamphetamine poses a risk even to Americans who never get anywhere near the drug: It is filling hospitals with thousands of uninsured burn patients requiring millions of dollars in advanced treatment -- a burden so costly that it's contributing to the closure of some burn units.

So-called shake-and-bake meth is produced by combining unstable ingredients in a 2-liter soda bottle. The slightest error can cause an explosion resulting in disfigurement, blindness, even death.

An Associated Press survey of key hospitals in the nation's most active meth states showed that up to a third of patients in some burn units were hurt while making meth, and most were uninsured. One study found that the average meth patient runs up medical bills of $130,000.

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