Methamphetamine has been around for a long time but in the past it was very rarely seen in the inner cities. Meth was traditionally the domain of long-haul truckers, rural blue collar workers, biker gangs and people in occupations that needed to stay awake and alert for long hours. Now, its popularity is rising in urban areas like Los Angeles and Houston.

In the last few years, this highly addictive stimulant has taken hold across a very broad spectrum of people. It is even replacing crack and powder cocaine in LA’s black neighborhoods. Part of the problem is that methamphetamine in its popular crystal form is flooding across the border from Mexico and through distribution hubs such as Los Angeles and Houston.

Mexican cartels are able to produce the drug easily and cheaply and are eager to cash in on what they see as a vastly profitable market for this drug. After all, it’s even even more addictive than crack and notoriously difficult to kick.

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Superlabs in Mexico Replacing Small Domestic Labs

The market for the cartels has flourished as difficulties have increased for smaller-scale meth labs in the United States. Changes in the laws mean that meth’s key ingredients — ephedrine and pseudoephedrine —have become harder to obtain, especially in big enough quantities for large-scale production. Thus superlabs – facilities capable of producing ten pounds or more in a single production cycle – have sprung up in Mexico, with more being established in remote rural areas of California.

It is a simple matter of economics. In 2014, five times as much methamphetamine as heroin was seized along the U.S.-Mexico border. What began as thousands of small-time operations capable of producing a few ounces of meth at a time has evolved into big business for the drug cartels.

Effects of Methamphetamine

Meth can be snorted, injected or smoked. Smoking or injecting it causes a brief, intense rush, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Oral ingestion or snorting produces a longer-lasting high.

Both the rush and the high are believed to result from the release of unnaturally high levels of the brain chemical dopamine into the brain’s pleasure centers.

It is probably the most addictive of the street drugs and users can become hooked on it very rapidly — some say one use was all it took. The speed at which addiction takes hold helps boost the speed at which the cartels can expand their client base.

While crystal meth is making money for criminals, it is the user and the user’s family and friends who pay the full price of addiction — chronic misery and shattered lives. Only someone who has been through the personal hell of it can comprehend just how high that price is.

If you or a loved one are stuck in that hell right now, please contact your nearest Narconon center today and take your first steps back towards a life free of methamphetamine addiction.

http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/world/southwest-border-drug-seizures/1543/