Meth Is Making A ‘Comeback’ in Florida

By Kelly Burch 01/04/18

Authorities say that a more potent version of methamphetamine is being trafficked into Florida by Mexican drug cartels.

2 people involved in a drug deal

The nation is gripped by increasingly alarming news about the opioid epidemic, and even cocaine is now making headlines for being mixed with deadly synthetic opioids. In Florida, however, authorities are battling another frightening drug trend: a resurgence of crystal meth, which is flooding the state, more pure than ever before. 

“With the much stronger meth, there is a higher rate of psychosis and overdoses,” David Fawcett, a South Florida therapist, told The Miami Herald. “People are getting addicted sooner.”

Meth was a popular drug in Florida in the early 2000s, law enforcement told the paper. Back then, most meth was cooked locally. But now meth is trafficked into Florida by Mexican drug cartels, authorities say, and the potency is often much higher. 

“Now, Mexicans are producing more meth than they ever have. It’s the highest level of production,” Justin Miller, intelligence manager for South Florida’s Drug Enforcement Administration field office, told The Herald. “They’re producing high purity, very cheap methamphetamine.”

Officials claim the drug is particularly popular among the LGBTQ community and as part of Florida’s party and clubbing scene. 

“It’s a very customer-rich environment, with all the different venues, events and parties for people to enjoy themselves,” said Miami Beach Capt. Daniel Morgalo, who says his street-crimes investigations unit has seen more meth cases recently. “Crystal meth will take the average party experience and magnify it tenfold.”

Law enforcement has recently made high-profile arrests of drug traffickers in Florida, but meth continues to pour into the state. In 2016, 621 people who died in Florida had meth in their systems, double the number from 2015. 

Despite the danger, users say it's hard to kick the habit. 

“It’s hard to adjust to life without it,” said a 51-year-old meth user. “And it’s so much more accessible with apps and everything like that—I’ve been managing to avoid a lot of that. I’m not off the apps completely, but I try to manage them better.”

More people and organizations are now talking about the dangers of meth, particularly in the LGBTQ community. 

“We have several crystal meth support groups that meet at the center and we noticed the groups were getting larger,” said Robert Boo, executive director of the Pride Center at Equality Park in Wilton Manors, Florida.

“More and more people are actually wasting away in front of us. Our goal is to bring the conversation to the forefront, to really raise awareness and talk about the impact of the addiction and how it has taken over people’s lives.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Kelly Burch Contrib.jpg

Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.