Drug Facts:

Methamphetamine Production

Methamphetamines - A Growing Problem

The use and abuse of amphetamines, which include methamphetamines, has grown steadily in the United States since the 1990s. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), a well-respected survey of drug use and trends in the USA, reported that methamphetamine use rose from a little fewer than 2% of the adult population in 1994 to approximately 5% in 2004.

Data on the number of drug treatment admissions showed a steady rise in the numbers of people nationwide who enter treatment methamphetamine abuse and addiction. In the ten years from 1992 to 2002, the rate of treatment admissions for meth abuse in the U.S. increased 500% with less that 1% in 1992 to over 6% in 2002.

Examining national trends further, you find that in 1992 only Hawaii and California reported more than 5% of the their total treatment admissions were directly related to methamphetamines.

One problem in limiting methamphetamine distribution is the ease at which methamphetamines can be "cooked" or manufactured by amateurs. Some of these backyard chemists are meth users and others just want to profit from the sale of a drug that has plenty of buyers. These consumers are mostly those persons that are nursing a chronic addiction, but some claim to be "recreational" users that limit their meth use to parties or weekends.

Law enforcement and drug prevention professionals soon realized that they couldn't educate or arrest enough of the drug trafficking business to stop its growth. However, since all homemade methamphetamines or any other variation of amphetamines, must have one common raw product, ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, it became evident that controlling the sale of ephedrine would limit the production of these street drugs.

There was actually a precedent for a similar drug problem when the government outlawed the manufacture of methaqualone, commonly known as Quaaludes, a barbiturate-like drug that had mass appeal as a "party drug" in the 1970s. In 1972, Quaaludes were the sixth-bestselling sedative in the United States. When it was proven that methaqualone didn't have any unique medicinal purpose and that there were much less addictive drugs that could treat any of the symptoms or maladies that methaqualone claimed to address, the government, with the support of the legislature, banned its production. It was only a few years until the drug-abusing public realized that they could no longer get actual methaqualone and the market for the illicit sale of this drug dried up.

Methamphetamine Distribution

Because of this successful history of ridding the streets of this dangerous drug, the drug prevention professionals and law enforcement personnel began educating state and federal politicians of the dire cost that meth has inflicted on their communities and the value that could come from restricting or ending the production of ephedrine. Because of the groundswell of support it wasn't difficult to find legislators that would take the lead on bills of this nature. The idea was to introduce legislation that would require a physician's prescription to obtain ephedrine and to end its sale as an over-the-counter medication. Unfortunately, the money interest from the pharmaceutical industry kept these bills from passing. This happened at the federal government level and with every state that tried to pass this type legislation.

Weaker versions of these bills were passed that required identification from anyone wanting to purchase ephedrine. Most states also have a centralized computer system that can track anyone that makes purchases and restrict the sale of repeated purchases of ephedrine-containing products by the same individual. It was hoped that this could keep the raw material out of the hands of potential meth chemist. However, the criminals have found a way around this identification system by offering ten to twenty dollars for anyone willing to buy ephedrine-containing products and using their unique identification. This way of going around the computer tracking system has led to larger amounts of ephedrine being sold now than before these restrictions were applied.

Since statewide laws have failed, cities and counties in the Midwest are attempting to make it illegal to sell ephedrine-containing products, like Sudafed, within their city or county limits in another attempt to slow down the destruction that has brought ruin to many of our communities and their public from local meth production.

With elected officials whose ethics are easily compromised by money and personal gain, our communities are still facing uphill battles to reduce the impact of this drug. It appears that drug prevention messages and activities the only effective measures we have to reduce demand for this dangerous drug. School-based prevention programs have raised awareness of the dangers of methamphetamines, but its appeal to those above school age continues to be a problem. State funded community prevention programs have had minor impact on this problem and the limited local law enforcement resources have limited the surveillance and arrest related to local meth production and sales.

The Kansas legislature passed a law in 2005 that made it illegal to sell ephedrine-containing products by anyone other than a licensed pharmacist. This law included restrictions on the amount that any individual can purchase at one time and also limited the amount that can be purchases within a thirty-day period. This passage of this law immediately reduced meth lab seizures by 80%, but they found that within three years, the problem was emerging again, due to the ways that one could bypass these restrictions and still purchase ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. In 2009 they passed a law that required the electronic logging of any sales of methamphetamine precursor chemicals.

It is obvious that the demand for this drug is outweighing the efforts of those combatting its production. It appears that the only successful approach to restricting meth production within the U. S. would be something similar to banning of methaqualone and to increase the levels of drug prevention and education in our communities, which has proven to reduce demand.

If you know someone using methamphetamines or any other drugs, contact a Narconon drug treatment couselor right away to get them some help.

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