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Crystal meth making inroads among youth

April 15, 2013

Consumption of the illicit synthetic drug methamphetamine has risen 15 percent in Guadalajara in the last three years, according to a study by the State Council Against Addictions (CECAJ).

The School Addictions Survey 2012 showed that 30 (three percent) of every 1,000 secondary and high school (preparatoria) students in Guadalajara have taken methamphetamine, up from 26 three years ago. This is roughly in line with consumption in the United States, where several studies have shown that two to three percent of young people have tried methamphetamine by the time they leave high school.

In the Guadalajara metropolitan area, consumption has risen most, by 68 percent, in Tonala. It has also risen by 47 percent in Tlaquepaque and 11 percent in Guadalajara, but fell by 39 percent in Zapopan.

Of 13 Jalisco municipalities surveyed, the worst was Tepatitlan, where consumption has rocketed by 90 percent in the last three years. In this time, the survey showed, methamphetamine and marijuana are the only drugs of which consumption has risen.

Methamphetamine is a synthetic drug produced in laboratories, as documented in popular US TV series “Breaking Bad.” More commonly known as “crystal meth,”  “ice,” or simply “meth,” it is a highly addictive pyschoactive stimulant that can be injected, smoked or snorted.

The rise in consumption coincides with increased availability, with Jalisco being home to one of every five meth labs discovered in Mexico in the last six years. The PGR says production is concentrated in three states, with 388 meth labs discovered in Michoacan, 225 in Sinaloa and 177 in Jalisco during the Felipe Calderon administration. Notably, these are all Pacific states in close proximity to the major ports of Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas, where the precursor chemicals necessary for meth production are smuggled into Mexico.

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