According to a report issued by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, crystal meth or methamphetamine as it’s properly known has become one of the most dangerous drugs not only in Costa Mesa but in the country. The sad fact is that approximately 1.6 million people admit to using meth– with younger people being the hardest hit. On average young adults at 23 years old abuse meth most commonly. We can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to skyrocketing increase in meth use in Costa Mesa, CA.
At Opus Health, as a treatment center, we see the effects of meth abuse almost every day. This drug is one that can take over entire lives and ruin relationships. Delusions, paranoia, and mental disturbances are common symptoms of meth abuse that many addiction treatment facilities see all the time when it comes to meth abuse. This sad addiction can be overcome, thankfully! We’ve seen hundreds of adults overcome meth addictions through rehab and getting professional help. But first, the community needs to become more aware of such issues and people with addicted loved ones need to feel supported.
How Many People Use Meth?
Approximately 78% of drug users today under the age of 30 admit to having tried meth, the largest segment being those between 18 and 23 years of age. Sadly, far too many young adult labors under the mistaken impression that meth use in Costa Mesa, CA and for that matter around the country is less addictive and dangerous than cocaine and other stimulants available.
It gets worse: according to Drug Threat Assessment, a report issued by the DEA, the western states have the worst meth problem in the U.S. In fact, approximately 79% of law enforcement officers and agencies along the Pacific coast say that meth has become readily accessible.
A Short History of Methamphetamines
The first recordings of “crystal meth” can be traced back to 1893 when a Japanese chemist synthesized it from a different stimulant. The original methamphetamine was synthesized from a chemical found in the ephedra plant. Fast forward to 1932 when Smith, Kline, and French (a U.S. pharmaceutical company) started to offer amphetamine (called Benzedrine) inhalers to those with breathing issues. This led to the Benzedrine pill for those who had problems staying awake.
By WWII, armies from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany started issuing these little red pills to their troops to help them stay awake during long stretches of combat. After the war, many soldiers were addicted to these “magic” pills. As a result, as you can imagine, many returning veterans began experiencing home and career issues because of their addictions.
In the 1950s methamphetamines became known as “Bennies” to the Beat Generation. But it wasn’t until the 1980s that meth labs started to pop up all over the U.S resulting in a crackdown on ephedrine (the main ingredient in meth) sales. This led to “meth cooks” using pseudoephedrine in its place to create crystal meth.
Meth Use in Costa Mesa, CA
At one point our neighbors in San Diego were living in the “Meth Capital” of the U.S.
In fact, 61% of all meth seizures in the world occur in the U.S. and Mexico. Usage in the country led to an increase of 157% of meth seizures at the southwestern border crossings. To make matters worse, 47% of these seizures occurred along the San Diego corridor.
To make matters even worse, in the history of meth use in Costa Mesa, CA, purity has never been higher at 96%. Further deepening the problem is the fact that prices are at an all-time low. According to the latest figures, the price of meth in Orange County fell from a high of $98 in 2011 to $58 in 2016 for a single gram of pure meth.
This has led to what many are calling the “Perfect Storm” when it comes to meth use in Costa Mesa, CA. At the risk of quoting another movie, these factors present a “Clear and Present Danger” to everyone in the county. In 2016 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that more people are admitted for amphetamine and other stimulant addiction treatment in California than for any other drug, including alcohol, marijuana, and opioids.
How Bad Is Meth Use in Costa Mesa Becoming?
To look at how bad meth use in Costa Mesa, CA has become, you only have to look back over the past twelve years and the number of meth busts that have occurred.
- In 2017 police stated meth use in Costa Mesa, CA and other drugs (including marijuana and opioids) led to 1,300 arrests for abuse violations in comparison to only 489 DUI arrests.
- In 2018, police indicted nine people in Orange County on charges of trying to ship a total of 25 lbs. of meth from Garden Grove hidden in Aztec calendars to Hawaii. At the same time, the same group was attempting to ship a further 5 lbs. in bags of ground coffee.
- In 2019, Rami Haddad, 38, of Costa Mesa, Ernest Tyrone Walton Jr., 37, of Anaheim, and Steven Barragan, also 37 of Montebello were charged with “conspiracy to distribute” 100 lbs. of meth and “possession with intent to distribute” a further 88 lbs. Haddad was also charged with disturbing 9.9 lbs. of meth and using a firearm in a drug trafficking crime.
Later in that same year, 10 people, including eight residents of Orange County, face firearms and narcotics-related charges following a 6-month investigation by authorities in the towns of Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach. Along with various firearms charges, several members of the group were indicted on charges of “conspiring to distribute” $2,500 worth of meth and $3,200 worth of heroin to a police informant. Three more men were charged with “conspiring to distribute” approximately 2.3lbs. of methamphetamines and numerous charges to do with the multiple guns the ATF seized.
Each year, approximately 5,500 people end up in the hospital and at least 700 die from abusing methamphetamines, other drugs, and alcohol. The cost of this in hospital bed days is about 70,000 costing insurance companies, individuals, and the state approximately $430 million. In the state of California, meth is responsible for more deaths than anyone single opioid such as fentanyl or heroin. However, the opioid family is still responsible for more overall deaths. The bad news is that methamphetamine deaths are quickly catching up with those related to opioid abuse.
How Can We Stop Meth Use?
The only way to solve any drug issue is to get to the root of the issue first. Sadly, a lot of addicts are criminalized in Costa Mesa and the Orange County areas, being left for the streets, or lacking sufficient mental health resources they need.
There are support groups and rehabs such as government-funded facilities, but they can be difficult to get into without proper insurance. The best way to get help in a situation like this would be to reach out for help from a local shelter or recovery center.
Treatment centers such as Opus Health are all around Costa Mesa in attempts to help people overcome these types of painful addictions. We know that it takes not only addiction recovery but a whole-person-focused approach to truly address the roots of addiction. Using therapy models, individualized treatment, and even Medication-Assisted Treatment when necessary are common treatment practices we stand for.
If you or a loved one need help overcoming meth use in Costa Mesa, CA, call us at 949-625-4019