The highly addictive Meth is blooming across the country again, this time in the shadows of the opioid epidemic. The low rates at which meth kills has diverted attention from the stimulant. The drug isn't getting the attention that many researchers, law enforcement officials and health workers say it deserves. They worry it will eventually overwhelm the country as heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers have.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel commissioned a study of meth in his state, which estimated that its use had jumped by at least 250 percent since 2011, a pace that could overtake heroin.
Ohio is also battling a meth resurgence, particularly in rural areas, authorities have said. Reports indicate the same happening in Texas, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Iowa and South Dakota.
The meth cases in Wisconsin more than tripled in 10 years. Researchers point out that meth addiction has always been a big problem in America. They only thing that has changed is a switch to mass production in Mexico, an increase in potency and affordability, and deeper penetration by drug cartels into vulnerable communities.
The drug is dangerous since there is no proven medical treatment for meth addiction. Jane Maxwell, who researches drug abuse at the University of Texas at Austin, said that they can do therapy and that sort of thing, but they don't have a magic pill.
Maxwell has documented a meth spike in her home state that includes a rise in deaths, treatment-center admissions, poison centers calls, and toxicology lab submissions. She believes meth is driving an uptick in HIV cases.
The Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center revealed that heroin use rose in Metro areas at a pace comparable to meth. The crisis has been accompanied by a growing concern that America focuses considerable resources on curtailing the supply of drugs, and punishing those to sell and abuse them, with little impact on the demand.
The evolution of meth during the early 2000s was recorded by Brownstein and his co-author, Timothy Mulcahy. The stimulant evolved from a hyper-local enterprise, produced in small labs and sold and shared among families and friends, to a sophisticated network driven by Mexican drug trafficking organizations.