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Methamphetamine Epidemic: Texas

According to UT News, the rising methamphetamine epidemic in the South is hitting areas of Texas that were previously dominated by heroin. As Mexican drug cartels continue to flood the United States with their version of methamphetamine, which contains a compound called phenyl-2-propanone (P2P), the problem has gotten worse. Meth made with P2P has greater potency and can, therefore, lead to increased dependency. In 2015, 91 percent of methamphetamine tested in the U.S. contained P2P and was from Mexico. Due to high demand, the kilogram amount of P2P meth seized at the Mexico border increased 37 percent from 2010 to 2015.

In 2016, the Dallas Drug Enforcement Administration ranked meth as the greatest drug threat to the area. Law enforcement officials revealed that methamphetamine use has been on the rise since 2013 even though media headlines were focused on the spike in prescription opioid overdoses. As reported by the Dallas Observer, many meth users in areas like Dallas and Fort Worth, which have been hit hard by opioids, claim that they use meth over opioids because meth isn’t as lethal as opioids. Other users, such as industrial workers with long work shifts, argue that methamphetamines help alleviate fatigue and can even improve work ethic. Oil jobs are ample in Texas, and some companies are willing to overlook substance abuse in exchange for good labor. In Midland and Ector counties, home to a large amount of oil workers, almost 100 pounds of methamphetamine were seized last year compared with only four pounds in 2010.

Texas Monthly reveals that courts are overwhelmed with meth manufacturing cases, and jails are filled with people charged with possession. However, more Texans have been seeking treatment for meth abuse, with 6,219 people just last year—up 590 percent from 2015. Although the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act in 2006 banned over-the-counter sales of medicine containing pseudoephedrine, a main ingredient in meth, the problem never ended. This federal law aimed to curb methamphetamine use and prevent making the drug at home, but instead, users turned to cartels to obtain methamphetamines. State and federal law enforcement officials are increasing efforts to stop the flow of meth from Mexico into the U.S., and hope that creating public awareness is the key to stopping the epidemic.