North America Making Massive Amounts of Meth

By McCarton Ackerman 06/28/13

The world's meth supply is skyrocketing, with most of it made in the US and Mexico, says the UN.

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More than half of the world's meth seizures take place in US and Mexico, where production and trafficking of the drug has risen dramatically, according to the annual World Drug Report by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. Worldwide seizures of methamphetamine by authorities grew by 73% from 2010 to 2011, from 51 tons up to 88 tons. Nearly 61% of all those seizures were reported in either Mexico or the US. Mexico seized the most—31 tons in total, more than double the 13 tons seized in 2010. Mexican cartels have been pumping cheap and high quality meth into the US since 2007 at a total profit of $5 billion annually, according to the report. From 2007 to 2011, the purity of the drug in the US has gone up—making it more addictive—while the price has plummeted from $290 per gram to less than $90. The Sinaloa Cartel, led by Mexican kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzman, accounts for an estimated 80% of the meth trade in the US, where seizures have increased from 15 tons in 2010 to 23 tons in 2011. The US also reports the highest number of meth labs in the world—and the number quadrupled from 2,754 to 11,116. Meth is rising in other parts of the world as well. In Asia, seizures rose from 21 tons to 32 tons, about half of which comes from China. And in Europe, meth seizures rose from 1,200 pounds to two tons.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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