The Modern Meth Situation

A teenager buys pills of Vyvanse.

While methamphetamines have been the subject of hip and prestigious television shows like Breaking Bad, there has been a real and growing meth problem that has continued to escalate around the country, despite people being more educated than ever about the dangers of meth. This modern meth situation is a two pronged attack on our way of life: one from the black markets and illegal producers who continue to flood rural areas with crystal meth, and one from the legal pharmaceutical companies who are filling our schools with dangerous drugs like Adderall. Either way, there is a complicated meth problem in modern America, and one that must be addressed. Here is a lowdown on the modern meth situation…

Mainly rural

Since crystal methamphetamines have been a thing, there existence has mainly been located in rural areas of the south and Midwest. Missouri alone had nearly 2,000 incidents of meth labs in 2012. This issue has also disproportionately affected lower class populations, although it still shows up across all demographics. Despite the popular image of what the drug has become (poor, white residents in rural counties), it has recently been showing up more and more in inner city areas. This shows that the drug may soon transcend its earlier boundaries and become more of a national issue, especially as it begins to affect more and more demographics.

Rise of Adderall and Vyvanse

While the main face of the modern meth problem has been underground venues of crystal meth, a huge part of the problem has also come from legal methamphetamines that have been distributed by pharmaceutical companies. Drugs like Adderall and Vyvanse are chemically similar to street meth. While not quite as dangerous, it should come as a source of concern that kids in schools are routinely taking these drugs to focus. As a lesson from the prescription opioid issue that helped drive up heroin abuse, we should take great caution when utilizing such dangerous chemical compounds.

Epidemic on multiple fronts

The rate of acceleration that we are seeing crystal meth appear in urban areas, as well as the rise in prescriptions of medical methamphetamines (which are seeing similar inclines of abuse) have signified that we are experiencing a drug epidemic from multiple fronts. What we do next should be approached with great caution. Failing to do something about it, though, could mean that meth rates will continue to climb, just as heroin rates have done over the past decade.