According to The Guardian, the number of seizures of methamphetamine in Arizona thus far in 2016 have already surpassed the previous year’s tally. This is solid proof that the demand for meth has made it so countries such as Mexico, where the drug is much cheaper and easier to manufacture, are able to import the drug into the U.S. and then disperse it to local traffickers fairly undetected. So just how bad is the meth crisis in the Southwest?
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 3,200 pounds of meth have been confiscated this year at Arizona’s southern border, and that number continues to grow exponentially. Similarly, in California, police and border officers have confiscated more than 15,000 pounds of meth in 2016, higher than the previous year’s 14,732 pounds.
So how exactly are these drugs being made, and how are traffickers making it across the border undetected, infiltrating suburban communities and ravaging the streets from California to New Mexico?
Operations in the United States
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), manufacturers of meth generally establish a base of operation in remote areas or set up small labs in mobile homes, houses or motel rooms. Most of these small labs are often small in size and easy to take down if need be, making it easy for producers of the drug to avoid detection from local authorities.
Much of the methamphetamine available in states such as New Mexico and Arizona is first produced in Mexico, where the active ingredients used to make the drug are much easier to purchase. After being manufactured, the drugs are smuggled either through Texas or New Mexico, where border regulation is easier to circumvent or through southern Arizona and California towns.
Changing to Form of Meth to Sneak It In
In order to avoid detection, many smugglers have resorted to liquefying the meth before entering the US. Through this process, the meth is dissolved in a solution and then can be crystallized again after its smugglers are safe across the border. Liquid meth can be stored in second tanks, washer fluid containers, and even shampoo or lotion bottles.
Meth’s Damage in the U.S.
While drug smugglers are getting more creative, the drug continues to take its toll on individuals and families throughout the country. Many users who become addicts often report that they felt like slaves to the drug, turning to theft, prostitution or other criminal acts as a way to get money to continue funding their addiction.
The number of deaths in Arizona alone from methamphetamine has grown significantly over the past decade. In addition, meth seizures in the Grand Canyon State have increased by 294 percent in the past five years.
With all this information in mind, the question to ask is not just how we can restrict criminals from manufacturing and trafficking the drug, but how do we help those individuals who suffer from addiction to meth?
Treatment to Combat the Meth Crisis in the Southwest
While there are many options for rehabilitation for any individual struggling with meth addiction, most professionals working in the recovery industry agree that it is often necessary for the addict to first undergo a medically supervised detox program, which usually lasts about 7 days.
After completing detox, the addict should be on a plan to enter either a sober living environment or a residential treatment facility that specializes in the treatment of alcohol and substance abuse.
Arizona and California both have many options available to addicts seeking to get help for their drug addiction problems. Professional treatment can help them reclaim their lives and set them up for long-term sobriety and an improved life.