According to the latest reports, Indiana has been crowned the new meth capital of the nation. The state has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic but now many users are ditching heroin and switching to methamphetamines, reasoning that it’s a cheaper drug. Although the number of meth lab busts by the Indiana State Police (ISP) has decreased from last year, law enforcement officials are saying there is still a high demand for the substance. A decline in homemade meth and a great influx of crystal meth from Mexican cartels are the cause of this. Meth in crystal form is better quality and costs roughly the same amount as cooking it. Nevertheless, a recent study on drug abuse in Indiana indicates that Indiana ranks first in the nation for methamphetamine production.
In January 2017, ISP announced the biggest drug bust in 20 years in which 29 warrants were given to those connected to a large meth operation. Law enforcement officials later described these individuals as “smurfs,” which refers to people that go out, buy pseudoephedrine (the main activating component in meth), and supply it to the meth manufacturers. Another lab seizure named Operation Total Eclipse occurred in August 2017, in which ISP found $10,000 in meth and arrested 20 individuals. Following the bust, ISP issued a statement that they will begin arresting anyone who overdoses and charge them with possession. Although the numbers from 2017 aren’t tallied yet, ISP expects to have arrested more than double the amount of individuals they arrested for methamphetamines last year, which was 662 people statewide in connection with 983 labs.
Unfortunately, Indiana ranked 14th worst in the nation for the percentage of residents who needed methamphetamine abuse treatment but didn’t receive it due to a shortage of substance abuse specialists. Although Indiana received $10.9 million from the federal government for substance abuse treatment, prevention, and law enforcement, state Senator Jim Merritt claims that it is not enough. Meritt further affirms that Indiana does not have the medical personnel, providers, doctors, nurses, or psychiatrists needed to treat the methamphetamine epidemic.