Meth abuse biggest drug problem in country USA

In a recent crime survey of 45 states and 500 county law enforcement agencies in the U.S., it has been found that as far as rural and small town America is concerned, methamphetamine has overtaken cocaine as the biggest drug problem.

More than half of the police, sheriff departments and other agencies surveyed, said the highly addictive substance was their biggest drug problem, and meth-related arrests had gone up over the past three years.

Less than 20% of those polled, singled out cocaine, and fewer again mentioned marijuana.

Methamphetamine is a chemical variant of amphetamine with much more powerful effects, and is highly addictive.

The drug is sold as powder, tablets or crystals and can be snorted, smoked, injected or swallowed.

It can alter personality, raise blood pressure and cause damage brain damage.

In rural areas abuse of the drug is particularly bad.

Chemicals found on farms make production of the drug relatively simple, and the homemade labs which produce it are far harder to detect in the countryside.

The findings, which are based on figures collated from rural and suburban areas, and do not include most of the country's largest cities.

Twenty percent of people, in half of the counties jails, were there because of meth-related crimes.

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

The problem initially began in the northwestern U.S., but now appears to be moving east, and is apparently having a devastating effect on communities nationwide.

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