Methamphetamines have created a scare in New York City, says the Associated Press. The highly addictive stimulant “could be the crack (cocaine) of the 21st century if we don’t do something to stop it,” New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer said last month.
Authorities in the West and Midwest dismantle thousands of clandestine laboratories each year that serve a cross-section of “tweakers” who snort or smoke a drug commonly known as crank, speed or tina. Homemade labs have cropped up in rural upstate New York: 73 were reported last year, up from 45 in 2002.
In the northeast, cocaine and heroin have been far worse problems. Between 1999 and 2003, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s northeast lab analyzed about 52,000 pounds of cocaine and 4,500 pounds of heroin seized in investigations. Only 15 pounds of meth was tested. Now, New York City has been targeted by large-scale suppliers fed by “super labs” in California and Mexico. Federal agents in Manhattan have seized 25 pounds of meth with a street value of $2.5 million and charged more than 30 people in meth-related cases in the past six months; in 2003, there were only 11 arrests. Another 28 suspects have been charged in unrelated state cases since early 2003.