For the person who is addicted to stimulants, the two primary choices are cocaine and meth. A gram of cocaine sells for about $80 in New York City. Meanwhile, a dose of meth can now be purchased for only $5 due to meth making a comeback in wake of the Opioid Crisis. This is no ordinary meth. It’s nearly 100% pure. The addict looking to get high has a very easy choice.
One of the motivations of meth abuse is the government’s efforts to battle the opioid epidemic. As opioids become harder to get, stimulant use has increased. Despite the fact stimulants produce a different effect than opioids, at some point any drug will satisfy the addict. In general, addiction starts with a desire to escape the problems and sufferings of life. If the addict can’t achieve that through the sedation created by opioids, the exhilaration of stimulants is a common answer to the problem.
President Trump’s commission on the opioid abuse issue recently issued its report and the opioid abuse epidemic was declared to be a national health emergency. This declaration released some grant money, but no new funding was requested by the president. Moves were made to battle the epidemic by imposing greater control on fentanyl imported into the nation and changes in the law to allow insurers more leeway in their coverage.
These and other efforts are apparently having some success. Recently, reports indicate that meth abuse is growing again and deaths from meth now outnumber deaths from heroin. Seizures of meth at the United States southern border are as much as 20 times higher than they were only ten years ago. The meth being seized is cheaper and more lethal than it was only a decade ago, as well. Meth production in the United States declined as ingredients became more difficult to buy, but drug producers south of the border have eagerly filled the gap.
The New York Times reported in February of 2018 that the drug producers in Mexico have produced so much meth so cheaply that it is nearly 100% pure and can be purchased for only $5 per hit, making it more attractive to drug users. The United States Customs and Border Protection organization reports that the amount of meth seized has tripled while levels of other drugs have dropped. More specifically, customs authorities in San Diego seized almost 10 times as much meth as they did 10 years ago, and along other parts of the border, seizures are as much as 24 times higher.
This is not just a problem on our southern border. Meth violations in Montana have tripled and meth-related deaths in Oklahoma are by far the highest cause of drug-related deaths. South Dakota and Hawaii report similar increases in meth-related violence and meth-related deaths. This cheaper and stronger meth is almost irresistible to meth users, and they’re paying the price with more severe addictions and more serious health consequences.
The number of deaths from meth more than doubled between 2014 and 2010. 2005 was the highest year of meth use, but federal efforts to increase the availability of pseudoephedrine, a key component in making meth, helped to mitigate the problem. As cheaper and stronger meth began to cross our southern border, the numbers of people seeking treatment for meth addiction also climbed. Meth use has also moved from just a problem in impoverished areas and is now a problem in inner cities as well.
Death from meth overdose is much rarer than death from opioids and usually results from stroke or heart attack. Because of this lower risk of overdose, use can continue for years, resulting in skin lesions, rotting teeth, and organ failure. In 2014, 3700 U.S. citizens died from meth overdose, more than twice as many as in 2010. Despite these increases, attention is still focused on the opioid abuse epidemic while meth abuse remains ignored. This new form of meth has been described as one of the most lethal drugs ever created.
Our nation’s effort to manage the abuse of opioids are meeting with some success, but that progress is taking a toll in the form of a growing meth addiction problem. For the addict, the craving for the intense high that they get from meth means that they will do what they have to do to get high. As opioids are more and more controlled by governmental efforts, addicts are looking elsewhere. The meth produced by drug cartels is stronger and cheaper, so it is just what the drug abuser is looking for, hence meth making a comeback lately.
Meth addiction is a serious problem. If you think you need help, contact us today, and professionals will be ready and willing to help you.
Northeast Addictions Treatment Center is a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center in Quincy, Massachusetts. Our team has been helping individuals with Drug or Alcohol Addiction live a life of Recovery since 2016.
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