methamphetamine

Corinne Boyer / Kansas News Service

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — Two years after closing an office in Garden City, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration announced this week it’s coming back to town.

The agency’s new setup comes at a time when methamphetamine seizures are on the rise in Finney County and the area’s seen some drug-related shootings. Plus, states are grappling with the fallout of billions of opioids distributed throughout the U.S., and western Kansas has few drug rehabilitation options.

For 10 years Hunter Hobbs was a heroin user. That’s what was big in North Carolina where he’s from. Then he moved to Colorado, where methamphetamine was more widespread.

“It was everywhere, and it was very easy to get,” Hobbs said. “I would buy other drugs and the person I was buying them from would provide meth as well, just kind of give it to me.”

Public Domain via Pixabay

Oklahoma’s foster care system has been beleaguered by high rates of abuse and neglect for years.

And, as The Tulsa World reports, much of that child abuse is due to Oklahoma’s high levels of meth addiction, with the state’s opioid addiction struggles adding to the problem in recent years.

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control

Last year, Oklahoma experienced a record number of drug overdoses, reports Oklahoma Watch.

In another gruesome precedent, methamphetamines were the biggest killer, for the first time ever. 2016 saw 952 from overdose deaths, and that number could reach closer to 1,000 as pending autopsies are finalized. The overdose number is almost 100 deaths higher than the previous record of 870 in 2014. Of the deaths, over a third occurred due to methamphetamines.

Cheaper, purer imports of crystal meth made in Mexico are resulting in fewer meth labs in the fields and remote areas of states where they had become a major problem. In Missouri, data for 2014 to date indicates that lab seizures will be down a third from last year and one-half from 2012. In Oklahoma, they are projected to be down by about half from last year. Meanwhile deaths from meth use are rising and distribution rings for the imported meth are reaching into smaller communities in Oklahoma.