For Sheriff Steve Evans, the symptoms of meth’s arrival in rural Pennsylvania’s Bradford County were a flood of arrests that packed a 118-bed jail with 194 inmates and helped double the jail’s operating costs along with the sudden need to patrol the back roads for meth labs, reports The Oregonian in Portland. Recently, two sheriff’s deputies were killed looking for a methamphetamine suspect in a junkyard. Says Evans: “I think in a few years, it will be all across the state of Pennsylvania. I know of nothing that will keep it from being all across the Northeast.”
A decade after methamphetamine began tearing through Oregon and Western states, the cheap and powerful drug has exploded across the Midwest, its inexorable march finally reaching the Atlantic. In the past decade, Congress’ response to the methamphetamine epidemic in the West has been disjointed and influenced by lobbying from the pharmaceutical industry, whose cold medicine, pseudoephedrine, is the key meth ingredient. On Capitol Hill, the new map of meth abuse is reflected in the House Methamphetamine Caucus. It now comprises 34 states. Throughout the country, state lawmakers are hearing meth horror stories from home. From Indiana to Alabama and from Florida to Maine, police and drug treatment counselors are reporting sudden upswings in arrests, trafficking, and addiction.