Tweaking While They Work

Anthropologist Jason Pine spent time in the trailer parks of Jefferson County, Missouri, getting to know the local meth culture:

Many of the people I met began meth on the job—concrete work, roofing, trucking, factory work. It’s a way to make the job easier, to work longer hours and make more money. Meth increases dopamine levels in the brain, which can cause people to engage in repetitive (and often meaningless) actions—a behavioral effect that syncs up well with ‘work you gotta turn your mind off for,’ as one cook told me. …

Physically, [people on meth are] very fidgety. They feel engaged and active and entrepreneurial. They’ll launch into many projects: tinkering with machines, repairing and re-repairing, inventing and re-inventing. It’s like you or me taking ADHD meds—a sort of legitimated form of speed. Adderall is middle-class meth.