The Meth Drug Laboratory Problem

Studies have suggested that methamphetamine abuse is on the rise in New Jersey.

The majority of the methamphetamine seized by authorities in New Jersey is suspected to have been produced outside the United States.

Some speculate that if methamphetamine abuse is on the rise, local entrepreneurs will attempt to manufacture it within the state to cut costs. This could lead to a rise of local methamphetamine labs in New Jersey.

Methamphetamine (meth) is categorized in the Schedule II (CII) category of controlled substances. While it can be used for some medical purposes, like the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it has a reputation as a significant drug of abuse.

It has central nervous system stimulant effects that can produce euphoria, increased alertness as well as increased heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.

Long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse can be quite varied. They can range from high blood pressure and issues with memory to psychotic episodes, including paranoid delusions and violent behaviors.

The Comeback of Methamphetamine

Authorities are identifying a comeback in illicit use of methamphetamine related to the opioid epidemic.

The opioid crisis has occupied much of the media attention regarding substance abuse in the country over the last several years. Some believe this has allowed for other drugs like methamphetamine to regain popularity.

Methamphetamine may be the drug of choice in rural areas or even in some urban areas because it is relatively inexpensive. It is also able to fly under the radar due to the focus on opioids.

Has There Been an Increase in Meth Abuse in New Jersey?

In a February 1, 2019 article, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported that meth use is on the rise in the state of New Jersey.

After assessing the trends in conjunction with local authorities, the results indicated that there was an evolving methamphetamine threat concentrated in the southern region of New Jersey. Methamphetamine was also commonly found in the far western parts of New Jersey, and it may be the drug of choice in some areas of the state.

Based on the DEA’s analysis, the high purity level of much of the methamphetamine found in New Jersey suggested that the substance was most likely produced in Mexico and not locally.

More Meth Labs in New Jersey

If methamphetamine is gaining popularity in New Jersey, it is a sure bet that some local manufacturers might aim to take advantage of this. Within the past 10 years, New Jersey has been known to have a fair number of local meth labs producing the drug.

The study by the DEA suggested that over the past decade, there were 10 meth labs that were producing plenty of product. It has been suggested that the average person living New Jersey was probably living within two miles of a meth lab.

The amount of meth seized by authorities between 2015 and 2017 increased more than 5,000 percent.

Meth Lab Locations Identified

In an article published in April 2019, nine addresses were revealed that were identified by the DEA as locations for meth labs and busts.

  • Blackwood in Camden County at 131 Brewer Avenue (busted on August 5, 2015)
  • Bridgeton in Cumberland County at 747 Garton Road (on May 24, 2007)
  • Burlington in Burlington County at 7 Bodine Avenue (on February 9, 2014)
  • Forked River in Ocean County at 986 Capstan Drive (on February 20, 2008)
  • Fort Lee in Bergen County at 2008 Jones Road (on March 13, 2006)
  • Freehold in Monmouth County at 94 Gravel Hill Road (on November 22, 2005)
  • Gloucester City in Camden County at 903 Koehler Street (on May 27, 2004)
  • Manahawkin in Ocean County at 358 Deer Lake Court (on November 2, 2006)
  • Millville in Cumberland County at 324 Lebanon Rd (on January 17, 2012)

While New Jersey is not among the top states in the nation where meth labs have been identified, there has been a significant increase in seizures of methamphetamine within the state.

As mentioned above, most of this product is suspected of being produced in Mexico. However, because there has been such an increase in the amount of methamphetamine within the state, there is speculation that more meth labs are being set up.

Influencing Factors

The DEA suggests that the following may lead to an increase in methamphetamine abuse:

  • Methamphetamine has become a popular substance to help those who abuse opioids deal with withdrawal symptoms. When they aren’t taking heroin or other powerful opioids, they may take meth in an effort to stave off withdrawal.
  • Methamphetamine can produce a euphoric state that can last for more than 24 hours. This is another attractive factor for people with opioid use disorders who need a drug to stabilize them so they don’t experience severe withdrawal.
  • Methamphetamine purity has continued to rise, and the price for methamphetamine on the street has continued to drop since 2009. This makes it an attractive alternative to many other drugs, including opioids.

 

Effects of Meth

People may have some familiarity with the physical damage long-term meth use can do. The Meth Project showcased photographs of people before and after meth use, highlighting the severe physical deterioration that can take place, even with rather short-term but chronic use.

The following are effects of sustained methamphetamine use:

  • Reduced appetite, leading to substantial weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Convulsions
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Dental issues

Meth use can lead to stroke, heart attack, and death. In 2014, over 3,500 people died from meth overdose in the U.S.

The Path Forward in New Jersey

The DEA’s report sheds light on the meth abuse issue in New Jersey, and this can help to prompt action in the state.

While the focus remains on the opioid epidemic, and opioid abuse rates still dwarf meth abuse rates in the state, more efforts to target substance abuse as a whole can help New Jersey residents to achieve recovery on all fronts.

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