Meth in the South: America’s Most Dangerous Drug

Methamphetamines have a long and tragic history in the southern United States. In many states along the Mexican border, meth has been the most widely spread and frequently misused controlled substance, with drug cartels targeting the porous border, rural communities, and vast spaces that make up the South. Meth in the South has changed the way of life for residents there and presented law enforcement with an ever-evolving problem.

This page will discuss the meth epidemic in the US, what actions have been taken against it, and what more can be done to combat meth use across the country.

America’s Most Dangerous Drug
pharmacist holding a tablet in front of aisle with medications

America’s Most Dangerous Drug

According to the United States Sentencing Commission, meth was behind 48% of federal drug cases involving the distribution of drugs. This is more than powder cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana combined.
Pure Meth Entering the U.S. from Mexico
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Pure Meth Entering the U.S. from Mexico

Almost immediately, notes NBC News, the gains made after the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act were undone. The meth coming out of Mexico was not only more potent than the drugs cobbled together in mom-and-pop meth labs, but it also enjoyed a much more efficient black market.
Socioeconomic Conditions
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Socioeconomic Conditions

The problem of meth in the South was recorded for an HBO documentary entitled Meth Storm. Released in 2017, the presentation shows the reality of the meth trade in central Arkansas, where, according to Rolling Stone magazine, the closure of a Walmart led to massive unemployment.
Can Regulation Help?
Aerial view of the capital building in Jackson Mississippi

Can Regulation Help?

While some state lawmakers push for legislation that regulates cold medications used in the production of meth, resistance from the drug lobby and patient advocates has kept pseudoephedrine available without a doctor’s prescription.

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