Meth is a growing problem throughout county

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SAN DIEGO – Methamphetamine killed 174 people in San Diego in 2012 and it continues to impact lives across the county, according to the Methamphetamine Strike Force.

Man wraps meth around body “It’s prevalent and I don’t know if people know how much it is,” said Jeanne McAlister, founder of McAlister Institute in El Cajon, a rehab facility for teen and adult addicts.

McAlister said 40 percent of the people who come to her center are addicted to the meth.

“It’s still one of the biggest gangsters there is,” said Leo Pruess, a recovering meth addict and now counselor at McAlister Institute.

In the 90s, San Diego was known as the meth capital of the world because there were so many labs being built and busted in the county, authorities said.  The county no longer has that title mainly because the Mexican drug cartel has taken over distribution.

Meth is still rampant is San Diego with about 35 percent of people arrested test positive for drug. It’s the No. 1 reason people enter rehab.

“It’s easy to obtain,” said McAlister, adding it’s easy, affordable and highly addictive.  “I could walk outside my office and find it.”

According to McAlister, meth use is prominent in all areas of San Diego from the inner city to affluent communities like La Jolla and Del Mar.

“It’s just more hidden there,” she said. “The kids we have on our program, they come here at 15 years old and they’ve been using for four years.”

Thirteen people were arrested in City Heights on possession of meth charges. On Wednesday, Border Patrol agents along Interstate 5 arrested a driver accused of having more than two pounds of meth taped around his stomach.

Even though meth has been to blame for hundreds of deaths in the county, prescription drug use is still the number one cause for deadly overdoses.

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