By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Opioid abuse has made the headlines in Minnesota for quite some time. Now, drug experts say it’s the resurgence of an old drug we should be worried about: meth.

The meth epidemic took the state by storm a decade ago but recent numbers show a troubling trend.

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Minnesota’s Violent Crime Enforcement Team seized 112 pounds of meth in 2012 and more than four times that, 487 pounds last year.

From meth labs to meth mouth, the terms were once a part of daily drug news in the early 2000s, but Carol Falkowski says even though the stories have changed, the problem has not.

“The numbers for methamphetamine in Minnesota they’ve never been higher,” Falkowski said.

“Now, all these years later all the numbers exceed where it was at its peak so absolutely we’re talking about epidemic numbers,” she added.

You’ll remember It got so bad before national legislation put daily restrictions on cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in meth. It also meant those medications moved behind the counter.

The move drastically cut back on meth labs in Minnesota. Records show law enforcement busted several hundred in 2003. Down to just 13 last year.

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“So we don’t have the meth lab problem but we still have the meth abuse and meth addiction problem,” Falkowski said.

Falkowski explains how people now get meth from Mexico and Interstate 35 is a direct connection between that country and Canada. Of course, Minnesota is a stop along the way.

The drug is described as a strong stimulant that heightens your alertness and suppresses your appetite. Falkowski has known even stay-at-home mom’s to fall victim as they try to keep up.

“As with any addiction it can happen to anyone,” Falkowski said.

It’s why she believes so strongly in shining the light on the numbers. No matter the drug.

“Whether it’s opioids or methamphetamines we need to address it with prevention, law enforcement and treatment,” she said.

Falkowski believes opioids make more news simply because they have a greater overdose potential. Opioids slow your breathing, while meth has the opposite effect.

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BCA Sources:
Methamphetamine Report, 2014Methamphetamine Report, 2015
Methamphetamine Report, 2016
Drug Seizure Numbers, 2012-2016

Liz Collin