Meth Addicts Going to Great Lengths Poaching Redwoods

People in active addiction to powerful drugs like heroin or meth often lose their moral compass in pursuit of their next high. They often do things they wouldn’t normally do, going against their own morals and deeply rooted belief systems. This is when addiction is real and all encompassing and drug addiction help is needed.

According to forest rangers in Northern California, methamphetamine addicts are losing their moral compass by engaging in theft and contributing to environmental degradation through poaching burl from redwood trees. Burl is the wood that grows in knobs on redwood trees and used for household items from coffee tables to decorative clocks. Addicts are reportedly poaching this rare material and selling it to craftsmen at cheaper prices. The considerable markdown of $2-$3 a pound is tempting for the craftsmen who are struggling in the current economy and used to paying much higher prices. According to the rangers patrolling Redwood National and State Parks they have known of burl poachers for awhile, but recently it has become such a growing problem that they have shut down the main parkway running through the 133,000 acre forest at night.

Burl from a redwood, used to clone another redwood 

According to Jeff Denny a Park Supervisor, “Originally there were 2 million acres of old growth forest that spanned the coast of Northern California…95 percent of that original forest has been cut. The only remaining old growth forest in existence now is almost entirely within the Redwood national park and the state parks.” The burl on redwoods are essential to growing more redwoods, as they part of the tree that sprouts a clone before dying. Poaching therefore threatens what is left of the redwoods.

In our residential addiction treatment programs we encourage those in recovery to go to great lengths for their sobriety. We remind them the lengths they went to in active addiction to attain their next high. Driving out into the redwoods on ATVs with chainsaws and contributing to degradation of redwoods for just $2-$3 a pounds is certainly an example of a great length that we hope some of these addicts will learn to channel toward their recovery from addiction.

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