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The Resurgence of Methamphetamine in Las Vegas

by Will Long

July 28, 2022

Meth reports rise in Sin City

Methamphetamine is making a comeback of sorts according to law enforcement officials who report higher and higher numbers of meth seizures around the world. Las Vegas has been hit particularly hard by the resurgence of meth since it fell out of favor after the early 2000s ended. Landmark Recovery of Las Vegas is dedicated to treating those who’ve fallen victim to the high rates of meth trafficking in the city.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) reported on the increasing prevalence of drug trafficking in the area. Las Vegas is a big center of meth trafficking in the western US, a gateway into the nation’s interior. A Las Vegas man convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine was sentenced on March 18, 2022 by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier. The man trafficked methamphetamine all the way from Las Vegas to Rapid City, South Dakota, where he was caught with co-conspirators.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), more deaths occurred from meth than fentanyl in 2021 in Clark County, Nevada. 

“Meth is a problem here,” said Kevin Adams, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA’s Las Vegas office. “Obviously, there are more overdose deaths related to methamphetamine than fentanyl.” 

DEA agents suspect this trend will end based on data and intelligence in the region, but as of now, meth remains the biggest risk to non-medical drug users in the Las Vegas area. A sign of high demand in the black market, law enforcement reported a traffic stop in June of 2022 that yielded a seven-pound meth seizure.

Meth was a popular drug and represented the vanguard of clandestine manufacturing as well as the “next big thing” on the black market as consumption shifted from cocaine in the 1970s and 1980s to alternative drugs. Meth can be found as a powder, in chunks (rock), or in a crystalline form (crystal meth). It’s most commonly manufactured domestically in meth labs, which are highly dangerous environments full of combustible dusts and gasses. Most of the meth used now in the US is made internationally in Mexico and then sent across the border.

What is meth?

Meth is a type of amphetamine compound. The drug is extremely potent compared to basic amphetamines and is usually taken at massive doses by those who’ve developed a tolerance to the drug. Heavy users of meth will binge on the drug for days at a time without eating or sleeping. The drug can be made from caustic materials found around the house; sometimes meth labs experience catastrophic explosions due to flammable chemical gasses building up in a small space.

The effects of meth are purely negative and harsh. Meth raises the blood pressure and heart rate of the user. The effects meth has on the brain are very similar to Alzheimer’s. Meth is more potent and longer lasting than cocaine, making it a more popular street drug. Addiction to meth is quick and almost entirely guaranteed. The tolerance experienced is rapid and massive, but those who are addicted will keep coming back. There is no upside to using meth—it will destroy your brain. Meth also rots teeth rapidly and causes a dental phenomenon called “meth mouth.”

Meth’s global popularity

Meth as a recreational drug of choice is a fairly recent social development, gaining hold since the 1990s. Fulfilling a desire for a cheaper and faster-acting alternative to cocaine, meth is arguably the most recent major illicit drug to hit the streets and achieve household name status aside from fentanyl.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports a strong global uptrend in number of drug seizures of methamphetamines worldwide. Meth seizures have been steadily rising since the early 2010s. Since 2018, we’ve been breaking new records every year for number of seizures, with the last year hitting a number close to 2018’s seizure count being 2001.

Learn more

To learn more about how Landmark Recovery of Las Vegas treats those with an addiction to meth, call 888-448-0302 today. Our dedicated admissions specialists can help walk you through the admissions processes and learn how our evidence-based treatment helps our patients unlock their potential and achieve recovery. Our mission is to save one million lives by the end of the century, starting in our very own backyard of Las Vegas.

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About the Author

Will Long

Will Long

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Long has been a writer for Landmark Recovery since 2021. He specializes in research and writing about substance abuse from a scientific and social perspective. Unearthing information from underexplored, far-flung corners of the Internet, Long’s passion is finding emerging trends in substance use and treatment that the public should know about.