Faces of Meth™: Good Argument Against Drugs, Great Proof That Genes Aren’t Everything

It’s not hard to prove that meth is a bad idea, but the Faces of Meth photos from Oregon’s Multnomah County Sheriff department definitely help the case. They’re also one of the most convincing arguments I’ve ever seen for the idea that we aren’t doomed to whatever our genes have in store for us: Proving that in the argument of nature vs. nurture, nurture can have an astounding—and sometimes catastrophic—effect.

The photos were taken by Deputy Bret King, who assembled mug shots of persons held in the Multnomah County’s detention center and interviewed people in custody about their drug use, experiences with methamphetamine, how meth contributed to their criminal record, and what they would tell young people about the drug.

Of course, most of us don’t doubt that drugs, especially meth, can do terrible things to your body. But plenty of people are resigned to the fact that their health is mapped out for them by some kind of genetic destiny over which they are completely powerless. These photos are a pretty stark illustration of how badly you can screw it up, but the good news is that if you do take care of your health, you can dramatically alter your “genetic map” for the better, too.

Here are some more photos that drive home that point:

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