Law enforcement officials say methamphetamine is behind the rise in urban and suburban violence, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Part of the problem is the drug’s pull on teenagers. Once thought to be mostly a rural problem, methamphetamine is steadily spreading into suburban and urban reaches of the Twin Cities, where it is attracting rising numbers of teenage users and spawning crimes and other violence. A law limiting the sale of decongestants used in making meth appears to have substantially curbed meth labs in Minnesota, but authorities estimate that 80 percent of the drug here comes from Mexico and the southwest United States. That means that the larger meth problem remains.
“We can’t incarcerate our way out of this issue,” said Ramsey County, prosecutor Susan Gaertner. “We need serious efforts to educate the public, particularly young people, if we want to stop this epidemic,” she said. The typical meth user is white, and a greater proportion of women abuse meth than other drugs because it often results in weight loss. More meth has moved into urban areas partly because the quality of imported Mexican meth has improved, largely replacing the home-produced meth that was cooked in rural labs. The violent crimes associated with meth are partly from paranoia it causes in chronic users, who often stay awake for days and get edgy and then depressed when coming off a high.