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  1. Basoodler
    View attachment 35177
    The most striking thing about the methamphetamine crisis in America can be seen by looking at a single map.

    Meth isn't a big city problem.

    Most drugs have been associated with urban life —acid in San Francisco, Prohibition in Chicago, cocaine in the New York nightclubs of the 80s. But meth is a completely different animal: It's rural, consumed not by monied elite on the East and West Coasts, but by white working-class Americans in the Mid and Southwest.

    Meth is a blue collar drug,and you can make it at home. Over the years, its manufacture has been more refined, to the point where it can now be cooked in a bathtub or basement, or a self-made lab.

    Methamphetamine is a synthetic chemical,unlike marijuana,which grows naturally. The person making the meth takes ingredients from common cold pills (hence the new restrictions on buying medicines that contain pseudoephedrine). The initial synthesis process is actually very easy, according to Breaking Bad's chemistry adviser, Dr. Donna Nelson. Making a pure and high quality product is the hard part, she said.

    To increase the product's strength,the meth "cook" combines the substance with chemicals such as battery acid, drain cleaner,lantern fuel and antifreeze. These dangerous chemicals are potentially explosive, and because the meth cooks are potentially drugged out and disoriented, they are often severely burned and disfigured or killed when their preparations explode.

    Still,this hasn't kept meth from taking America by storm. Since exploding onto the American drug scene in the 1980s, meth has spread rapidly across the U.S, but we haven't nailed down a single stronghold for it. In 2005 , an analysis by Slate.com showed that U.S. newspapers had used the title “Meth Capitol of the World” to describe over 70 different American towns, cities, and countries, from California to New York.

    Perhaps one of the most well known and highly acclaimed books about meth in Middle America is Nick Reding's Methland, for which he spent two years immersing himself in meth-stricken Oelwein, Iowa. The New York Times book review wrote that Reding's book was an "unnerving investigative account of two gruesome years" and describe the town "a railroad and meatpacking town of several thousand whipped by a methamphetamine-laced panic whose origins lie outside the place itself, in forces almost too great to comprehend and too pitiless to bear. The ravages of meth, or 'crank,' on Oelwein and countless forsaken locales much like it are shown to be merely superficial symptoms of a vaster social dementia caused by ... iron dominion of corporate agriculture and the slow melting of villages and families into the worldwide financial stew."

    Reding wrote that meth had a "seeming distinctiveness among drugs" because of “the general resistance to associating narcotic use with small towns."

    So where are these "small towns?"

    The below maps show where meth labs have been identified and seized. Indiana, Tennessee, and Missouri have the highest rates of lab incidence.

    The below interactive map from CNN shows meth labs per county.
    View attachment 35178

    In Tulsa County,Oklahoma,police identified 979 contaminated meth lab sites —the most of any county in the nation. In a 26-month period, The Tulsa Police Dept. cleaned up 690 labs at a cost of $118,560,000.

    Next up on the graph is Jefferson, Missouri,where there were 472 sites. Outside of labs, the Missouri State Highway Patrol seized 37,295 ounces of methamphetamine in 2011.

    Other notable sites of lab concentration include: Summit, Ohio (353 labs);Kanawha, West Virginia (235 labs);and Kalamazoo, Michigan (318 labs.)

    Breaking Bad takes place in Bernalillo county, New Mexico. Of all 33 counties in New Mexico, Bernallilo has the highest number of illegal meth labs (97), even though it’s the third smallest in terms of area: 1,1666 square miles. (The county has the largest population, at around 670,000.)

    Click on the photo to go to the interactive site and scroll over your county.

    View attachment 35179

    Below: distribution of drugs. Red is methamphetamine;blue is cocaine; green is marijuana.

    View attachment 35181

    Methamphetamine transportation routes

    View attachment 35182

    Aggregate responses from local law enforcement when asked which drug posed the largest threat. (Over a quarter of them answered meth, over cocaine, heroin,marijuana, and prescription pills.)

    According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 1.2 million people (0.4% of the population) reported using methamphetamine in the past year alone, and 440,000 (0.2%) reported using it in the past month. The average age of new methamphetamine users in 2012 was 19.7 years old.

    Reuters columnist Jack Shafer,who has written extensively on the drug, said in an interview with PolicyMic that he has never adopted the word “epidemic.” First of all,he said, stimulants of the same sort have a 70-year history in the country. “I don’t think that meth is a mystery drug,” he said. And if we’re not calling alcoholism use or tobacco use an “epidemic,” why would we use the word for another drug?

    But the thing is, it doesn’t matter what we call it. It's a problem,yes,but it’s not about meth —it’s about something greater. As Reding writes in Methland, “In truth,all drug epidemics are only in part about the drugs. Meth is indeed uniquely suited to Middle America, though this is only tangentially related to the idea that it can be made in the sink. The rise of the meth epidemic was built largely on economic policies, political decisions, and the recent development of American cultural history."

    The Washington Post wrote of Methland that “it makes the case that small-town America is perhaps not the moral and hard-working place of the public imagination, but it also argues that big city ignorance —fueled by the media —toward small-town decay is both dangerous and appalling.

    Reding summed it up. “If there was a chance to see the place of the small American town in the era of the global economy, the meth epidemic is it.”



  1. Boltzmann
    Great resource.

    The comment 'over cocaine...' is incorrect. Anyone can see that 29.6%>27.6%. There isn't even any math there to screw up... I think that that 'sums' up just how sloppy drug journalism usually is.
  2. Basoodler
    I think they ment given the choice of all of the listed drugs 27.6% chose meth

    "inastead of" = " chose meth over x,y,z"

    Boy you can tell the people out west have a strong mexican production supporting them
  3. Cid Lysergic
    Mexicans make up a large proportion for sure, but don't forget about the Asians also importing the West side along with the low population density of the mid-west. As most of the Cocaine is shipped to Florida, distribution naturally occurs on that side. My belief is if given the choice, most will use Cocaine over Meth. This is supported by personal preferance & the low rates of Meth usage where Cocaine is more easily accesible (ie being the eastern states & UK.)
  4. Diverboone
    Is this a true statement?

    "Methamphetamine is a synthetic chemical,unlike marijuana,which grows naturally."

    It's misinformation like this that people really believe.

    "To increase the product's strength,the meth "cook" combines the substance with chemicals such as battery acid, drain cleaner,lantern fuel and antifreeze."

    The number of labs reported is in no way indicative of use, if anything it's more indicative of law enforcement pressure. People fail to notice with each new restriction upon precursors the total number of labs climb high. Yes there might be a short term drop for law makers to applaud and back slap over, then reality hits.

    "Reuters columnist Jack Shafer,who has written extensively on the drug, said in an interview with PolicyMic that he has never adopted the word “epidemic.” First of all,he said,
  5. AKA_freckles
    I am confused by the 'zero' in hawaii. where does hawaii get all it's ice it's famous for? If the kids even still call it that...
  6. DazedforDays
    While labs may or may not be increasing (Im not sure, I never bothered to look) I can say that living in a 24 hour city with enough vices to make an addict go crazy, meth use has continued to drop since its peak in the late 90s to mid 00s. It used to be so prevalent that in high school alone there was not a classroom that didnt have 1-2+ people serving up sacks in the middle of class. It was dirt cheap and damn good too, Im talking fire and shards so beautiful you'd feel bad melting them down. Fast forward a few years and now meth is damn near underground and you never hear about it when 10-15 years ago you couldnt turn on the news or open the paper without being bombarded by "meth this" and "meth that."

    Now its heroin that is king all over the southwest. Both are sold simultaneously as well as coke...the Mexitrio. I would assume all three use the same transport routes since they are all sold at all times. I used to see tweakers everywhere but I stopped using it for 13 years and didnt know a single tweaker working on the strip where drug use is high and drugs are everywhere. Just a little factoid but in 2 months of outpatient treatment I finished a couple weeks ago we had 1 crystal meth addict and 32 heroin addicts cycle through, 1 of which would shoot meth and heroin together although when asked he said heroin was definitely number 1 with meth only coming when he had the money to do both.
  7. Diverboone

    You are correct about meth use being on a general decline. Many law enforcement agencies that pro-sued meth offenders are turning toward the diversion of proscription pharmaceuticals. Pain killers being the most likely to be diverted, there reduction of availability on the black market will lead to an increase in Heroin use. Which in the long run will increase the number of people that are dependent upon Gov drug replacement therapy such as methadon and suboxone.
    Heroin use in my state has increased drastically in the last few years. That may surprise some since my state consistently ranks in the top 3 for number of meth labs.
  8. Diverboone
    Most is imported from Southeast Asia. That's Hawaii's supply route. The DEA estimates that 80% of the available meth on the streets in the lower 48 is produced in Mexico. This is a result of the Laws of Supply and Demand, where there is a demand there will be a supply, it may be limited supply but it will be there.
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