Tennessee drug agents are seeing an alarming comeback in the production of methamphetamine, The Tennessean reports. Police call it the poor man’s drug, because it is cheap to make with household ingredients and turns a lucrative profit on the streets. Meth elicits an almost immediate, long-term high that outlasts more expensive drugs. It can destroy the human body in a matter of months. “If we stay on course with the seizures this year, we’ll be at about 1,300 labs, which brings us back to 2004 figures,” said a state official. Tennessee ranked third in the nation in meth production in 2008.
The resurgence began when tighter border security made it increasingly difficult to import meth from Mexico, and when producers here discovered they could make meth more quickly and efficiently by using new ingredients and new methods. Experts say a first-time meth user can get hooked immediately, sometimes with deadly consequences. A Rand Corp. study found that meth caused 900 deaths nationwide in 2005, and cost the U.S. about $23.4 billion.