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Registered: 07/26/04
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Methamphetamine 'top drug in US'
    #4374608 - 07/06/05 03:45 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Methamphetamine 'top drug in US'
July 6, 2005 BBC News

Methamphetamine has overtaken cocaine as the biggest drug problem in the US, according to a major crime survey across 45 states.

A survey of 500 law enforcement agencies found meth-related arrests had gone up over the past three years.

More than half of the police, sheriff departments and other agencies polled said the highly addictive substance was their largest drug problem.

Less than 20% singled out cocaine and fewer still pointed to marijuana.

Highly addictive

Methamphetamine is a chemical variant of amphetamine with much more powerful effects.

Abuse is particularly bad in rural areas.

It is easy to produce using chemicals found on farms, and the homemade labs which produce it are less easy to detect in the countryside.

Half of the counties surveyed said 20% of people in their jails were there because of meth-related crimes.

In some places it accounts for more than 50% of people detained, and law enforcement officials say burglaries, domestic violence and assaults have increased because of it.

Children also suffer - from neglect and abuse of addicted parents or carers, and from the side effects of the drug being produced in their homes.

The problem started in the western US, but it is moving east - and it now has what the Association of County Governments calls a "devastating" effect on communities nationwide.

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