Everything old becomes new again: Stats confirm meth is back on the rise

Crime
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They say, everything old eventually becomes new again.  Local law enforcement tells 13 News that that’s the case in terms of drug trends, too. 

Anytime a law enforcement investigation goes to trial in the Mountain State- the evidence, the drugs, are sent to the Drug Identification Section of the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory. 

Carrie Kirkpatrick is the Supervisor of that section of the lab.  She said, drug sales always follow trends.  Around four years ago for instance, the teams in her lab analyzed a lot of oxycontin, a lot of pills.

“And it was being replaced with the heroin,” Kirkpatrick said.  “We’ve seen heroin in large quantities probably the last two, two and a half years, and now we’re starting to see an increase in methamphetamine.”

Law enforcement officers are seeing an influx of crystal meth, specifically.  Crystal is a type of meth that’s known for being especially potent and usually more refined.  It’s called crystal- because of its appearance which is almost glass-like.

“As trends change in the drug world, they also change in the way they’re manufacturing the substances as well,” Kirkpatrick said. 

Remember those “shake and bake” meth labs you heard a lot about several years ago?  Local folks were (and still are in some cases) making homemade methamphetamine.  In some cases, the labs explode, which can cause serious injury or death. 

Crystal meth is not the product of those. 

Authorities tell me much of the crystal they’re running into on our streets is coming from Mexican cartels- cartels that are trying to make up for lost revenue after a drop in marijuana sales because of the legalization of that drug in some U.S. states.  

“In January of 2018, we analyzed over 200 cases and of those 200 cases, 39% of those were methamphetamine cases,” Kirkpatrick said.  “In February, we analyzed over 200 cases and of those cases, 43% of those cases were methamphetamine.” Kirkpatrick said there is no reason to believe that percentage won’t continue to rise. 

Officers with the Charleston Police Department said they are taking massive amounts of meth off the streets.  Chief of Police, Steve Cooper said over the course of the last six months, they’ve seized ten times more meth than heroin. 

Stay with 13 News for more on this developing story.

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