What has led to methamphetamine abuse in Salt Lake City? Salt Lake City police started seeing a large, distinctive increase in clandestine methamphetamine labs and drug treatment admissions for meth in the 90’s. To fight this, the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) was designated in 1996 and the Salt Lake City Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Methamphetamine Initiative was established in 1998. Both brought together multiple organizations, agencies, and even the community in helping to stop the growth of these labs throughout Utah.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) claims that the domestic production of meth has decreased and continues to do so, thanks to the restrictions put on the sale of meth precursor drugs (pseudoephedrine and ephedrine). Meth is easily made with household items and considered to be one of the most destructive and most addictive drugs. It is also known to be cheaper than cocaine, which makes it more desirable for users. With this constant decrease of clandestine meth labs in Utah, which according to El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) and National Seizure System (NSS) was just one in 2014, why is the abuse still rising?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), stimulants including meth are the most common drug cited in admissions to drug treatment in Utah from 2001-2011. The Utah Department of Health states that about 28 percent of all drug treatment admissions are for meth. 75 percent of those being treated are women and mothers.
The DEA has recognized Salt Lake City as one of several United States cities being infested with large quantities of Mexican meth. The Sinaloa cartel is in Utah, as well as most the country, according to the DEA and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), as of May 2015. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), meth is usually transported through and into Utah by vehicles on I-15, I-80, and I-70.
Last August a Canadian man was arrested in Salt Lake in what the police considered to be one of the largest meth busts in Utah history. This man was transporting 68 pounds of meth through Utah using I-15. This arrest was quickly followed by another arrest in October, in Provo during a traffic stop. Utah Highway Patrol confiscated more than 230 pounds of meth.
Utah county Major Task Force’s Lieutenant Richard Ferguson says that 95% of the meth in Utah is imported from Mexican drug cartels. What used to be one or two ounces being made here, is now being imported in pounds by the Mexican cartel. This Mexican meth continues to become purer and yet prices continuously diminish which continues to bring in and hook new users.
Who Uses Meth?
Some methamphetamine users get hooked after just one try, others use it a few times before becoming addicted, and then there are others who switch from other drugs to meth because it is cheaper and offers a longer-lasting high than cocaine. Meth affects all races, backgrounds, ages, and lifestyles, even though much of it can be found near Salt Lake City’s homeless shelter at Rio Grande District. The dealers use the surrounding homeless population to blend in and of course to find customers. However, the homeless are not the only users. People make drives from Provo, Ogden, and even the closer surrounding cities to get this meth.
Meth Related Arrests
Simply making arrests isn’t going to solve the problem. For every one dealer arrested there are two more dealers ready to take their place. Regardless, police are trying and their records indicate that they had 1,144 drug-related arrests in the first eleven months of 2014 in the district, which was 741 more than all of 2013. In the fiscal year 2018, over 7,554 people were arrested for meth dealing. In the 2015 fiscal year, there were 82 drug trafficking sentences.
Even though police know that Salt Lake City is the epicenter for meth distribution in Utah it has reached into the suburbs and even the rural areas surrounding the city. Drug dealers are starting to move westward and north. Ogden has experienced its own increases and difficulties with meth. The thing to remember is that this is a problem that affects all of Utah. Some believe the best way to help fight meth is to educate people. They believe people should know about the effects and how easily it is to become addicted. Most people don’t try meth expecting to hit rock bottom. Unfortunately, for a lot of users, this becomes the reality.
What Other Methods is the State of Utah Using to Stop Methamphetamine Abuse in Salt Lake City?
Many people try to stop the drug problems in Utah, including opiate and heroin abuse, with the help of education and support. Drug Free Communities (DFC) organize to help reduce drug use in communities and the youth with help from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and their grants. Some of these partnerships in 2012 were: Bonneville Communities that Care, Northern Utah Substance Abuse Prevention Team, Salt Lake City Mayor’s Coalition, South Salt Lake Coalition for Drug Free Youth, The Substance Misuse and Abuse Reduction Team (SMART), and the Washington County Prevention Coalition.
If you need treatment for your addiction, call Recovery Ways today. We offer a variety of addiction treatment programs, including:
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To learn more about methamphetamine abuse in Salt Lake City, call Recovery Ways at 888.986.7848 today.