By Byron Shehee
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Many states known for producing high quantities of methamphetamines have recently been successful in drastically reducing the drug’s production; but that does not mean its use has been diminished. Users are merely turning to a cheaper form of the drug that is being made in Mexico and shipped to the United States.
Law enforcement and strong state laws have contributed to the decline in domestic production, but the porous US southern border still allows for an abundant supply.
State Senator Cam Ward (Alabaster) recently wrote an editorial in response to our current problems associated with methamphetamines. Ward said, “it’s critical to point out that our law enforcement community has taken a number of significant steps to crack down on meth criminals. For instance, our police force use real-time tracking of pseudoephedrine purchases, while our pharmacists use a system—called a meth offender block list—that prohibits meth offenders from buying those cold and allergy products.”
Ward further stated that “as lawmakers consider ways to step up the battle against meth, they should focus on the real sources of the problem: Mexican meth and addiction.”
The type of methamphetamine being made in Mexico is stronger than that typically made in the U.S. as the drug is generally made with an organic compound named phenylacetone. This compound was banned in the United States in 1980 but is still available in Mexico. The Mexican chemists do not face the harsh drug laws that exist in the US which allowed the process to become refined to the point of producing a nearly pure methamphetamine. Further, Mexico is producing quantities so large that the price of a pure gram of methamphetamine has fallen from $290 a gram to $100 per gram here in the US.
Other politicians need to address Senator Ward’s concerns sooner rather than later.
Marshall County law enforcement officers recently made two separate arrests involving liquid methamphetamine. It is generally uncommon across the US but it has been seized by officials as it was smuggled across the US-Mexican border.
Officials believe the liquid form of meth is even stronger than the crystal compound coming across the border.
This relatively new form of the methamphetamine is difficult to detect as it can be hidden in a variety of ways so the progress that has been made in limiting domestic meth production is going to be lessened if this new problem is not addressed.
However, as Alabama’s domestic meth production continues to decline, our State law enforcement officials may divert resources to further reduce methamphetamine consumption.