Just as methamphetamine use in the United States spread west to east, there is fear in Mexico that meth consumption – known as tacha, cristal, piedra, ice, hielo, and glass – will spread from Baja California Norte, Sinaloa, and Michoacan to points west. Recently, public health authorities in Juárez, together with their counterparts in El Paso, launched the “Oscuridad de Cristal” (Darkness of Meth) campaign to warn students and others of the dangers of metamphetamines. While meth use and production has stabilized in the United States, the scourge of meth use and trafficking is spreading through Mexico. Tijuana has more than 100,000 meth users, according to Victor Clark Alfaro, a human rights leader in Tijuana, and authorities in Juárez worry that the meth epidemic may soon take hold of this border city. An estimated 70-80 percent of the meth used in the United States now comes from Mexico, where “ice” – a highly concentrated form of meth – is produced in superlabs. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, Mexican drug distribution networks are “circumventing chemical sale and import restrictions in Mexico in an attempt to maintain large-scale meth production in that country.” Meth superlabs, according to the government agency, operate throughout Mexico but are mainly found in Michoacan, Baja California, Colima, and Jalisco.
Photo: Bags of ice seized at San Luis, AZ, March 25