Cheaper, more addictive meth sweeping county

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SAN DIEGO - Meth is flooding into San Diego and authorities warn it's coming in cheaper and more addictive than ever before.

The latest Methamphetamine Strike Force Report Card, which tracks nine indicators of the meth problem in San Diego annually, released Monday shows the alarming growing problem of meth in San Diego. Enough so that U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said it's an epidemic as numbers of meth-related deaths, emergency room visits, arrests and border seizures remain at alarming levels.

"Meth is a quad threat. It’s pure. It’s inexpensive. It’s addictive and widely available," Duffy said.  "We are tackling this monster problem by intensifying efforts to dismantle the cartels and by offering prevention and education programs targeting young people and medical professionals.''

According to the report, emergency room visits throughout San Diego County have increased by thousands of patients, up 141 percent since 2010. Seizures of methamphetamine at the San Diego-Tijuana border have marked a dramatic 129 percent increase from 2010 to 2014.

"And the meth we’re talking about today is not the meth of 25 years ago."

Gone are the days of meth being made out in rural trailer parks. The drug is being manufactured by the ton in Mexico super labs and is supplied by Asian chemical distributors, according to the report.

Mexican children are being used to smuggle it across the border in liquid form, concealed in laundry detergent and antifreeze containers. Then, the meth is crystalized in the U.S.

Forty-five percent of adults arrested in 2014 had meth in their system, compared to 27 percent in 2010, according to the report.

Adding to law enforcement official's angst is voter-approved Proposition 47, which last year downgraded meth use and possession of meth from a felony to a misdemeanor offense. When meth use and possession was a felony, the courts could require drug treatment for many offenders. Today, someone can get arrested, released and re-arrested many times for what are considered non- violent meth offenses, the report states.

"I don’t want these users in my jail. I want them in treatment so they can be productive members of our community, again," San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said.

Now to a problem that is not only killing kids, but adults too, and at an alarming rate.  Around 260 people in San Diego County have died of meth this year. The youngest was 17 years old and oldest 70.

"The trend lines are deeply troubling and show that we must continue to wage war against a drug that is tearing families apart,'' San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob told City News Service. "Make no mistake ... Meth is death, meth breaks lives and we need to continue to do all we can to stem the tide of this terrible drug into our communities.''

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