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Wild Tales of Drug Abuse And Out-Of-Control Drinking in Amish Country

Updated September 23, 2021 406.2k views11 items

It’s well known that any society repressing people inevitably breeds wild lust for drugs and alcohol. The Amish don't necessarily repress people in an Orwellian way, but the extreme sensory deprivation of their culture surely qualifies as some kind of repression from those who seek stimulation. While it doesn’t seem like Amish drug problems are something people are worried about, it turns out that drugs in Amish communities are a big deal, and so is underage drinking. Amish teens, bored with raising barns and tilling fields, can't resist the allure of getting high on random drugs procured from townies.

Maybe it's hard for you to imagine Amish people smoking meth, but crystal is big business in their swath of the Midwest. While stories of Amish teens getting black-out drunk on Rumspringa are well known, the Amish heroin epidemic isn't really common knowledge. Right now, beneath a lovingly sewn bonnet, some formerly fresh-faced, wide-eyed teenager in Pennsylvania or Indiana or Ohio may well be chasing the dragon. Call it Buggyspotting. 

Amish drug epidemics prove there’s no amount of religion that can keep people from doing drugs. If you're genetically predisposed, curious by nature, and/or in the right social conditions, you will ride the white horse, gorge on nose candy, blaze glass, or flog the wombat no matter what. Tighten your winches, brethren: Harrowing tales lay ahead.   

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  • Of Course Amish People Buy Drugs From Bikers

    Photo: Ian Griffiths / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

    In 1998, Amish men Abner Stoltzfus and Abner King Stoltzfus were arrested after they bought drugs from a motorcycle gang called the Pagans and distributed them to Amish teens. One Amish teen told CNN, "Teenagers are just like normal teenagers. When they get 16, they get tempted just the same way on cigarettes and drugs and alcohol. And it's just to be cool." 

    The incident followed a rash of concern among parents in Pennsylvania's Amish community that kids were doing drugs and drinking alcohol at unchaperoned barn dances. The men arrested for distributing the drugs were Old Order Amish, among the most conservative of sects. 

  • According To The Stars Of 'Amish Mafia,' Amish Kids Love Coke, Weed, And Meth

    While chatting with Andy Cohen, the stars of everyone's favorite Amish reality show, Amish Mafia, made some startling revelations about the prevalence of drugs like cocaine in Amish communities. As Alan Beiler, who in 2013 was sentenced to up to two years for possession of Carisoprodol, oxycodone, and Alprazolam, said, “A lot of Amish kids do coke. And there’s a lot of marijuana, and crystal meth has taken over at this point right now.”

    Beiler's co-star Jolin Zimmerman elaborated, saying, “I think it’s honestly easier for an Amish guy to be doing drugs, because they’re more secretive about everything else anyway. They don’t let the outside world know what they’re doing."

    Of course, the stars of Amish Mafia are hardly the most reputable sources, so it's possible they're just making things up and throwing around incendiary statements to prolong their 15 minutes of fame. They're also maybe not the best authorities on true Amish life, since, well, that one dude in the picture has a machine gun. 

  • Amish Kids Start Drinking Young

    Photo: Gadjoboy / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

    Just because Amish teens are trying to grow the longest beards ever while tilling the earth at the break of dawn doesn't mean they're different than regular teens. Apparently, Amish kids love getting turnt on cheap beer. Case in point, in 2000, Ohio police noted that Amish teens sometimes went harder in the paint than regular underage drinkers. 

    One tale is of an Amish teen found passed out in his buggy - he was so far gone that the blaring of police sirens and horns failed to wake him. The buggy, by the by, was in motion, and after a low-speed police-car-versus-horse chase, it flipped, tossing the kid out. 

    Drinking in Amish communities has gotten so bad that police keep an eye out for taxi drivers buying large quantities of alcohol because they have been known to sell it to Amish youth for a tidy profit. 

  • A Defected Amish Man Got 37 Months For Possession

    In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Moses Mast, a 40-year-old father of five and ex-member of the Amish community, was busted with 860 marijuana plants and 780 pounds of harvested weed that netted him 37 months of prison time. 

    According to Mast's defense attorney, "[Mast was] significantly influenced by an individual in Kentucky who provided financial backing for the marijuana operation, including the purchase of an electronic bud trimmer costing thousands of dollars."