San Diego: Still Addicted to Meth, Part 1
“I did this drug and it made me feel good for a change. I kind of just went down a rabbit hole and got lost into that world. Everyone around me was addicted to meth, whether it was smoking it or shooting it up. Every day, my life revolved around committing crimes. I was living on the fringe of society. I think that period of my life, there was about a year period where I slept maybe 30 days all year. I was using a lot of meth every day.”
~ Tommy Winfrey, a former meth addict who credits prison with saving his life
Once upon a time, and not that long ago, the San Diego region was known as the “meth capital of the world”. There were dozens of makeshift methamphetamine labs operating in the area, making it a hotbed for manufacture, sales, addiction and crime.
But in 2005, the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act was passed, a new federal law that made it harder to purchase the precursor chemicals needed to make meth — ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine.
This majorly impacted domestic production — between 2010 and 2017, meth lab seizures fell over 80%. Today, most American meth labs are small operations that produce less than two ounces at a time.
But as encouraging as that sounds, the demand for meth was and is still there, and when the supply dried up, other illicit sources outside U.S. laws stepped in to fill the void.
Mexico Takes Over
“I’ve never seen anything like it. We’re talking about a laboratory in the middle of the jungle that was producing 7 tons of crystal methamphetamine every 3 days.”
~ Jon DeLena, Associate Special Agent in Charge, New England Drug Enforcement Administration, after visiting a meth superlab in Mexico
Mexican drug organizations, primarily the Sinaloa cartel, ramped up meth production and now are the primary suppliers to the United States. In fact, 85% of the meth found in this country is produced in superlabs in Mexico or here in California.
Even worse, the cartels can produce so much methamphetamine that the supply is at an all-time high and the price is at a record low.
Agent DeLenacontinued, saying, “When you see the opponent that we’re up against — when you see the sophistication that they can put together somewhere in the middle of the jungle and produce such volume, it’s challenging.”
And Mexican meth is made with such precision that it is far more potent than anything law enforcement has seen before. For example, while the average purity of American meth of the past was 48%, Mexican meth is currently being produced at 80% purity.
Kansas City DEA Special Agent Erik Smith says, “It is back with a vengeance. And the reason for that are twofold. The drug’s now stronger, and cheaper, than it used to be.”
This will continue in Part 2.
San Diego is “ground zero” for the meth problem in America. If you live in the area, it is almost certain that you or somebody you know is struggling with meth abuse or addiction right now If this is the case, your best local resource is Lasting Recovery, the oldest and most-trusted outpatient drug rehab program in San Diego.
To get immediate help, contact Lasting Recovery TODAY.