Tragically, drug abuse can cause damage on multiple levels. We are all aware of the life threatening dangers of an overdose, but let’s not forget about the tremendous physical toll an addiction-related seizure can have. Serious after effects can include paralysis, brain damage and heart attacks (just to name a few). Even more alarming is that these instances appear to be on the rise, particularly among meth users.
According to recent stats from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), meth-related seizures have gone up by 118 percent over the past nine years. Clearly this points to the fact that meth use is on the rise, with nearly 350,000 law enforcement seizures of the drug last year. And as far as fatal meth overdoses go, more than 10,000 people lost their lives to the drug in 2017.
One of the reasons methamphetamine abuse continues to escalate is because of accessibility and affordability. Since it costs little to make, it’s one of the more less expensive illicit drugs (compared to something like cocaine). It is also highly addictive, with users commonly smoking it in the company of others.
There are also reports about involvement from Mexican cartels. Traditionally, crude meth labs (where the drug is concocted) would be run locally and distributed within smaller communities. Now, as several outlets are claiming, international dealers are finding cheaper ways to produce the drug; creating a much more efficient operation on a wider scale.
Many outspoken reporters believe the government is falling behind in the way it’s combating this crisis. Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer was quoted on TheFix.com and described how ignoring trends and underlying addiction vulnerabilities is ultimately hurting success rates when it comes to stopping these seizures.
“The U.S. needs to stop focusing on ‘fighting; the war on drugs, and instead focus on treating the underlying conditions that leave people vulnerable to substance abuse,” Singer explained. “Meth’s comeback shows why waging a war on drugs is like playing a game of ‘Whack-a-Mole.’ The government cracked down on Sudafed (affecting millions of cold and allergy sufferers) while SWAT teams descended on domestic meth labs, and Mexican cartels popped up with a cheaper and better manufacturing system.”
We happen to agree with that sentiment and the fact that country is battling multiple addiction crises at once. Of course the opioid epidemic should be a priority, but let’s not forget the rise in meth dependencies, cocaine abuse and alcoholism for that matter. It is important to build strategies that combat all of these unique issues, in the hopes that we can bring some of those terrible statistics down.