Methamphetamine use has been on the decline in the U.S. in recent years. Many experts believe a big reason for that drop is related to a 2006 federal law that required pharmacies to move medicines used to make meth behind the counter — basically, any drugs that contain pseudophedrine. Claritin D and Sudafed are just two examples. Since the 2006 law went into effect, customers have to show a driver’s license when purchasing these drugs and can only buy a certain amount of medication per month. Allergy sufferers know the drill all too well.
But fast-forward to Texas in 2015 and meth use appears to be on the rise again.
Last year, the number of people seeking treatment in Texas for methamphetamine and amphetamine addiction totaled 6,219. That’s a 590 person increase from the year before. No other state in the nation is seeing such an uptick, so what’s happening in Texas that’s so unique?
Emily Hoerner is a reporter for the Medill News Service, and she’s written an article for The Texas Tribune that looks at the state’s spike in meth use.
On the recent increase in the number of Texans being treated for amphetamine addiction:
“In 2006 there was a large number of people who were seeking treatment right after that law had been passed banning the … over-the-counter sale of pseudophedrine. It had gone for a couple of years after that and then all of a sudden, it started going up again. That was really curious and I didn’t know what was going on, so I started calling around … and people were saying that use is back up again, that’s what [they’re] seeing.”
On what demographic is using meth the most:
“It’s really a regional drug, people use it in certain areas, places like rural California and in Texas. It’s not really based on demographics at all.”
On why Texas in particular is seeing more meth:
“When people didn’t have access to this drug, they stopped using it, and now a lot of the methamphetamine is flowing in from Mexico with the drug cartels, and Texas is right there … People who liked it before are using it again because now they have access to it again.”
On how meth imported from Mexico compares to homemade meth:`
“Meth is a really complicated drug, there’s a lot of different forms of it. The stuff that is coming from Mexico is really potent, it’s the kind that’s made in a lab. What we were seeing before … you can make all different levels of methamphetamine … you can make it in the trunk of your car, you can make it in a two-liter bottle, and that kind of stuff is not as potent.”