Is Fitchburg a real-life 'Breaking Bad'?

Breaking Bad
Do you think Fitchburg is anything like ‘Breaking Bad’?

By Juliana McDonald

Luckily, the city of Fitchburg does not seem to have a major problem with crystal methamphetamine.

For those unfamiliar with the groundbreaking AMC series, the main character, Walter White, resorts to manufacturing crystal methamphetamine (also known as “crystal meth”) to help pay for his chemotherapy treatments after being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer in the pilot episode.

Mainly though, he does this to support his family so they’ll be financially secured once he dies.

The methamphetamine that White produces is perhaps the purest in the world, as he consistently reaches a purity level of 99% or higher. So the money’s always rolling in at the hands of useless junkies craving their next high.

Detective Sergeant Glenn Fossa of the Fitchburg Police Department agrees that “Breaking Bad” accurately portrays what the drug world is like. He says not only do drugs affect the person using them, but they affect everyone that is involved in the user’s life. There is a ripple effect when the manufacturer produces this drug down to the dealers and to the user, all which have effects on the community at large.

Fossa notes that “Selling drugs makes a profit; little money has to be invested, that is why it can be very appealing, whereas a regular business usually has to invest a lot of money in order to make a profit.” People want drugs, and then they need drugs, which is a guaranteed profit in the drug world according to Fossa.

Has law enforcement in Massachusetts noticed an increase in drug use, leading to crime? Fossa states that crime travels west to east. With crime, come drugs, with drugs, come crime.

With the downturn of the economy, many people will do almost anything to make money in order to support their families. They become very desperate and will take extreme risks which is why selling or producing drugs can be very alluring.  These people do not realize just how many lives they could potentially hurt along their journey, whether directly or indirectly. Walter White did not consider the numerous encounters he would be involved in or the effects on his family when he first began scheming his plan of producing crystal methamphetamine.

As the series progresses, White becomes completely engulfed in the operations of the drug industry as he ends up making much more money than he originally intended (which was $737,000). The viewer still tends to support him, even though he completely loses his conscience and begins to complete inhumane acts and even kill people along his journey. He transforms from the protagonist to the antagonist and back to the protagonist throughout the series.

Throughout the series, despite being closely tied with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the characters almost never seem to be incarcerated or have any major consequences for the crimes they’ve committed whether it be murder or drug trafficking. What many characters did seem to lose, however, were their loved ones and the close connections they shared with family members.

Locally, Fitchburg has a fairly good amount of heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana and pills; but fortunately, Fossa says that the city does not seem to have a major problem with crystal meth. It’s worth nothing that crystal meth is just starting to make its way across the country from the West to the Midwest. Incidentally, in “Breaking Bad,” the majority of the people involved in Walter White’s business are from the west coast.

Crystal methamphetamine is a very fast acting drug. Every kind of drug has its own “personality.” Crystal meth users give law enforcement a “benefit” to detect which drug is being used, as it is very easy to detect when someone is using this drug due to its physical effects. Crystal meth and cocaine are physically addictive drugs, whereas cocaine is a psychological drug. Street dealers in Fitchburg oftentimes get their drugs from sellers who are usually addicts themselves, according to Fossa..

“Crystal methamphetamine has not arrived in Fitchburg yet, but we anticipate it coming, and we anticipate it to be everything that you would expect it to be,” says Fossa.