A highly addictive synthetic drug is finding its way over the US southern border and up into North Dakota more and more often.
KX News has an update on just how rampant methamphetamine is in the state, and how much of it is being taken off the streets.
The Drug Enforcement Administration Omaha Division covers five states, including North Dakota, and this year so far, they’ve seen a 31 percent increase in meth seizures. They’re reporting close to 1,500 pounds, at an estimated worth of $9-million.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says it’s the most serious drug problem we have in the state.
The North Dakota Attorney General says, “You’ll see that a lot of the aggravated assaults, the home burglaries, the other thefts, are driven, in part, by the demand for meth.”
And according to the Morton County Sheriff, since 2010, it’s been getting worse every year.
Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier adds, “We’re about where we were last year already, with the number of meth arrests from this year.”
Stenehjem shares, “There was a time when we just had the local, what you call the ‘Ma and Pa meth labs’ that would make a half an ounce, maybe an ounce, not very high quality. We got a handle on that by eliminating the purchase of pseudoephedrine, which you need to manufacture meth. That eliminated the local meth labs.”
He says, now, 90 percent of it is coming in from Mexico.
According to the report from the Omaha Division DEA, meth is 71 percent cheaper than it was in 2005, and agents are seizing loads in double-digit and occasional triple-digit quantities. 14 years ago, it was uncommon for agents in the midwest to seize multiple pounds in one raid.
Not to mention, the drug is much more potent than it was years back.
Stenehjem explains, “The local meth labs, it was not very potent meth that was being manufactured. Now we’re finding it’s 99, 100 percent pure.”
Kirchmeier adds, “Once you are addicted to it, it ruins lives, it ruins families, it ruins careers.”
While seizures are up and law enforcement is working harder than ever, the AG says there’s much more on the street every year, and we’re far from catching it all.
Stenehjem says we can’t arrest our way out of the problem. Both he and Sheriff Kirchmeier tell us, it comes down to providing more treatment and educating kids and teens before an addiction forms.
In Morton County, treatment facilities are available, as they are across the state.
Click here for a list of addiction treatment facilities available across North Dakota.