Tag Archives: methamphetamine

Methamphetamine Use Rising Again

methamphetamine abuseMethamphetamine addiction was a major concern for law enforcement and health officials several years ago, before the opioid crisis reached epidemic proportions. States in the Western United States were hit especially hard by the abundance of methamphetamine being manufactured, and as a result thousands of people suffered from debilitating addictions to the powerful drug. But, after major attempts to curb methamphetamine production and use, the United States saw a decline in the number of meth users.

Restrictions on purchasing some of the main ingredients for manufacturing the drug and powerful ad campaigns like, Faces of Meth, were attributed to the de-escalation of methamphetamine use. However, recent reports find that while the country experienced a reprieve from the meth problem, more people are using the drug again, and massive quantities of the drug are being smuggled across the border.

“We’re seeing it pour across the border in bigger quantities. It used to be that loads of 20, 30, 40 pounds were big for us. Now we have 200-pound loads,” cautioned Mark Conover, the deputy U.S. Attorney in Southern California.

Methamphetamine originally soared in popularity because addicts could manufacture the drug themselves, using relatively common household ingredients. But, now that many of these ingredients require an ID to purchase and are only available in limited quantities, drug cartels in South America have taken over. As a result, methamphetamine is not being made in small at-home labs, but instead is being produced in giant warehouses where they make it in bulk and then smuggle it into the United States.

This massive influx of methamphetamine has led to some of the biggest numbers that officials have ever seen. States like Ohio, Texas, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Iowa, South Dakota and Wisconsin have all seen massive spikes in methamphetamine in the last year. Some reports show that methamphetamine use has jumped by 250% since 2011.

Meth has somewhat silently crept back on the radar. Despite having a different set of problems associated with its use where overdose deaths are less likely compared to opioids, methamphetamine addiction is still a very serious threat to the public health in America.

If you have a loved one who is abusing or addicted to methamphetamine, contact us today to find out how our treatment program can help.

Study Looks at Experimental Drug to Treat Meth Addiction

molpsymethMethamphetamine is a powerful drug that is one of the most addictive and difficult to recover from. One of the toughest parts of trying to stop using meth is the cravings that develop after use stops. Studies have suggested that only about 12 percent of meth users fully overcome their addictions and make a complete recovery.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute may have recently discovered a way to eliminate the memory of the high of methamphetamine, making it possible to not crave the drug. They used a medication called Blebbistatin on meth-addicted rates, showing great promise. The rats who were administered the drug later showed no interest in their behavior, while the control group gathered around where the drug had previously been administered, waiting for their next fix.

Called Blebb for short, the drug targets the memories of the meth use experience and breaks down the components so that they are not so easily relived with such intensity. When meth users crave the drug, they often recall the high that they initially felt, which is attached to that memory. With Blebb, they are essentially able to erase the part of the memory associated with the high.

“It’s one of the many happy surprises of this project,” said study author Erica Young, “We fully expect that they wouldn’t relapse a year or more later, but we don’t know for sure yet.” The full results of the study were published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

After a surge in meth use and addiction in the U.S. about 20 years ago, it later declined significantly, which was attributed to laws pertaining to better regulation of meth precursors. Since then, meth has started to make another comeback, as the majority of the supply now comes from “superlabs” in Mexcio.

DEA Reminds Us Not to Forget About Meth

methamphetamineHeroin and prescription drugs are certainly the hot topics when it comes to drug abuse in recent years, but recent comments from representatives of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) carry a warning that methamphetamine use is on the rise again in many areas. In fact, not only is it coming over the Southwest border still, but it is reaching the outer limits of the country in rapid fashion.

Methamphetamine is a man-made drug that gives the user an intense high and feeling of euphoria. The drug is comprised of chemicals that can be found in various household items like lye, battery acid, fertilizer, rubbing alcohol, brake cleaner and other hazardous chemicals. When ingested, users initially feel a rush of euphoria, followed by an intense burst of energy that usually ends in hallucinations and paranoia. The drug is so addictive that users will go to great lengths to obtain the drug and remain high.

Methamphetamine is not new to the country of course, but the production process has changed throughout the years. In the past, it was most common for small groups to manufacture the drug and distribute it throughout their area. Sometimes addicts would make their own supply, using easy to find ingredients. In more recent years, however, the production has shifted to superlabs south of the border. Drug cartels in Mexico are now supplying methamphetamine in huge quantities right along with the heroin that has become so pervasive.

In fact, many heroin users report that meth is their next drug of choice. “Methamphetamine is a dark horse riding side by side with heroin,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug James.

So, while drug prevention efforts need to remain on heroin and prescription drugs, it is important that methamphetamine stay on the forefront as well. The insidious way that methamphetamine has of consuming a person is amplified if prevention efforts don’t remain focused there as well.

Methamphetamine Rising Again in Many Areas

methnamesDespite the lack of media attention methamphetamine has gotten over the last several years, it is still a widely abused drug. In fact, methamphetamine users are showing up in larger numbers again – even rivaling opiates in some areas.

The drug, known for its powerful effect on the body, is a highly addictive stimulant. Users often fall into an intense addiction very quickly upon trying the drug. This is likely a reason why the abuse rate is so high with methamphetamine. Oftentimes users will seek out the drug and feel compelled to keep taking more.

Methamphetamine experienced a surge in popularity when users realized they could manufacture the drug from their homes. Using ingredients that were common among households and easy to obtain at drug stores and home improvement stores, addicts soon were able to produce their own supply. Then, about ten years ago, states started to regulate the methamphetamine ingredients more, and the number of at-home meth lab busts dropped significantly.

Unfortunately, there was still a large demand for methamphetamine. Drug cartels in Mexico realized that they could manufacture the drug and smuggle it into the United States. A recent study in the Twin Cities in Minnesota noted the increase of meth users there.

“Since 2009 it’s been creeping up again and now the supply is from Mexico,” explained Carol Falkowski, the lead author of the study. In addition to fueling the methamphetamine habit, cartels have also made the drug stronger. The methamphetamine brought in from Mexico is 80% pure and creating even more addicts.

In addition to the rise in treatment admissions again, emergency rooms have also seen an increase in people checking in for complications resulting from methamphetamine use. If you know of someone in need of help for a methamphetamine problem, contact us to learn more about effective treatment options.

Pharmacies’ Switch Could Help Drop the Number of Community Meth Labs

methlabsdojThere is a trend developing among pharmacy chains that is impacting meth production in a positive way. Their efforts, as simple as they may be, are reportedly connected to a decline in the number of methamphetamine labs in their areas, all without enacting costly legislation changes. The pharmacies are simply making a change in the type of pseudoephedrine (PSE) products they sell, switching to meth-resistant PSE products.

Since the switchover started two years ago, illegitimate PSE sales and the number of meth labs in areas of the country have dropped, particularly in West Virginia and Tennessee. Nearly 30,000 pharmacies across the nation have started stocking this new type of PSE over the past two years. This new type of medication includes technology that makes it harder to convert the cold medicine into methamphetamine.

For pharmacies, stocking meth-resistant cold medications is a simple way to provide customers with the over-the-counter medicine they have always relied on to treat their cold symptoms. Plus, this switch keeps methamphetamine producers looking elsewhere.

West Virginia pharmacies, including CVS, Rite Aid and the Fruth Pharmacy chain, have taken further measures. They removed traditional single-ingredient PSE products from their locations and replaced them with meth-resistant formulations. Since the pharmacies stopped carrying Sudafed and its store-brand generic equivalents, authorities say West Virginia has seen a 30 percent drop in PSE sales. Several counties in Tennessee that also adopted similar programs report significant decreases in PSE sales.

In several states across the country, lawmakers are gearing up to debate whether PSE should require a prescription. While PSE has long been an ingredient that consumers have relied on to treat nasal congestion, it is also one of the main ingredients used to make methamphetamine. Should the legislation pass, consumers would be required to get a prescription for cold medications like Sudafed and its generic counterparts.

Advocates of the prescription-only legislation believe that it will be more difficult for methamphetamine producers to get their hands on PSE products, which would in-turn decrease meth-related crime and lab incidents. Others argue that requiring a prescription for these cold medications punishes innocent cold and allergy sufferers, who would be required to sacrifice extra time and money for doctors’ visits to acquire the prescription.

Meth-resistant cold-medications won’t solve the ever-broadening methamphetamine addiction and abuse problem, but data shows the meth-resistant medications are making a difference in reducing illegitimate PSE sales and domestic methamphetamine production. This means a lessening the collateral damage of domestic meth labs: fires caused by lab explosions, the cost of foster care for children whose parents are drug users and toxic waste from the chemicals used to make the dangerous drug. All of these are desirable outcomes without requiring legislation.

Officials Save Huge Meth Shipment from Streets

The border control in Arizona recently prevented $500,000 worth of crystal meth from being distributed in the United States. Drugs continue to be a problem in the state, although border control and law enforcement are working hard to reduce the influx of the illegal substances. With large seizures such as the one that just occurred, public officials are pleased with the prospects of gaining better control over the continuous breach in Arizona’s borders.

Border control pulled over a suspicious looking vehicle and upon searching the truck they noticed that there was a hidden compartment. After further inspecting the compartment the police officers seized 100 pounds of methamphetamine that was believe to be destined for states outside of Arizona.

Methamphetamine is one of the most popular drugs that are manufactured in Mexico. Since the ingredients for the drug are not regulated like they are in most parts of the United States and it can still be manufactured inexpensively, much of what is produced is brought across the boarder. In recent years, most of the crystal meth consumed in this country has come from Mexico.

Crystal meth is a man-made drug that produces an intense high. Users will feel a euphoric effect followed by an intense amount of energy. Quickly after the drug is consumed most addicts will start to feel a heavy paranoia as well as visual and auditory hallucinations. Due to the effects of the drug, many users will stay awake for days on end.

There are many physical and mental side effects to this powerful drug. Many addicts suffer from meth mouth – this occurs when the addict’s teeth rot away and the person has open sores in their mouth. Additionally, because of the hallucinations and paranoia, many addicts may feel that they have bugs crawling on them. They handle this by picking at their skin, oftentimes leaving open sores that are likely to become infected.

Crystal meth is a highly addictive drug that has taken the lives of too many people in our country. Officials hope that seizures like this one will prevent more people from getting addicted to the powerful substance.

Liquid Meth Conversion Bringing New Challenges

crystalmethSince law enforcement agencies across the United States, especially in California and the Southwest, have been so vigilant about tracking down methamphetamine shipments, the manufacturers of the drugs have had to think of new ways to smuggle and distribute it. The amount of methamphetamine being produced in the United States has lessened, but that doesn’t mean that addicts aren’t able to get their hands on the powerful drug.

To avoid detection by U.S. authorities, producers have been making methamphetamine in Mexico for quite some time. In order to get the drug into the United States, reports indicate that the cartels are liquefying the crystals and transporting them in sealed alcohol bottles or laundry detergent containers. Once the liquid is in the United States, labs then dehydrate the drug and turn it back into crystals.

Law enforcement started noticing this trend developing over the last few years, and it is starting to become more and more likely that this is how meth is getting into our country. This also brings additional problems, as any form of meth does. Since the people who are taking the methamphetamine from liquid form to crystals are not exactly professional chemists, they run the risk of harming themselves and others in the process.

For example, emergency services responded to a home after it was blown up. It turned out that meth cooks were inside evaporating the liquid using dangerous, highly combustible chemicals and blew up the house. They caused damage to surrounding houses and were eventually arrested. There are several reports of similar incidents all around the state of California.

Methamphetamine in liquid form is also highly dangerous, as it is highly concentrated. A 16-year-old boy died last year after taking a sip of liquid meth. He was trying to prove to police that he was not carrying anything illegal. He took a sip and then started screaming in pain and passed away a few hours later.

Methamphetamine manufacturers and law enforcement are continuously trying to out-smart each other when it comes to getting methamphetamine to the streets. Transporting meth in liquid form is just the newest way to smuggle the drug, but law enforcement is on the lookout for the next creative method.

Ultimately if there is a will there is a way. While it is good to try and prevent widespread distribution of harmful substances, the better, longer-lasting effects usually come from successful drug prevention and addiction treatment practices.