Earlier this week, authorities in East Texas seized guns and drugs from two locations in the latest battle in the war to curb trafficking, distribution and subsequent addiction within the region. The raid drew mixed reactions from members of the community, law enforcement, prevention advocates and clinicians. It failed; however, to surprise Marine Corps veteran and recovering methamphetamine addict Christopher Rodden of Longview. In a recent interview with a local ABC affiliate, Rodden discussed his own personal journey, the strong hold that meth takes on addicts and his take on the increasingly urgent drug problem facing all areas of the Lone Star state.
Methamphetamine has become such a problem in Texas, in part, because it’s easier to make, cheaper and more accessible than heroin and prescription opioids. Data from the University of Texas at Austin reports that an eight-ball of meth that cost $400 in the summer of 2014 was selling for $225 in the beginning of 2015. The University also reports that in 2015, 91 percent of methamphetamine tested in forensic laboratories in the U.S. was made with phenyl-2-propanone (P2P) from Mexico. Because of the demand in the U.S., the kilogram amount seized at the Mexico border increased 37 percent between 2010 and 2015. Last year, the Dallas and Houston DEA divisions ranked methamphetamine among the top two drug threats in their areas, similar to Atlanta and Los Angeles.
As a whole, methamphetamine now outranks cocaine on Texas’ list of drug threats, placing it second in the rankings behind marijuana. The problem is particularly severe in cities like Houston, Austin and San Antonio. In March of 2015, Authorities in Austin made the first-ever liquid meth bust in the area, seizing approximately $3 million worth of product. Two years later and the problem hasn’t gotten any better. Just five days ago, Brownwood police, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office and Early Police Department collaborated on the largest-ever bust in the City of Brownwood. The bottom line is that the problem is everywhere.
With the explosion of methamphetamine addiction in Texas has come widespread deterioration of lives, families and communities. In a climate in which marijuana is thought to present less and less of a threat, methamphetamine may officially be Texas’ most dominant public health issue, and it’s only slated to get worse without the proper combination of interventions from all community stakeholders. We simply can’t afford to wait for the problem to get worse.