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Iowa's Meth Resurgence: More Smuggling, More Potent

PHOTO: Iowa law enforcement has already seized some 64,000 grams of methamphetamine in 2014, marking a nine-year high. Photo credit: Nathan Jongewaard/Flickr.
PHOTO: Iowa law enforcement has already seized some 64,000 grams of methamphetamine in 2014, marking a nine-year high. Photo credit: Nathan Jongewaard/Flickr.
December 2, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa - There are changing trends when it comes to the scourge of methamphetamine in Iowa, but the drug's dangerous and deadly grip remains tight in communities across the state.

Thanks to laws on psuedoephedrine and meth precursor ingredients, there has been a dramatic drop in the number of meth labs in Iowa, but Dale Woolery, associate director with the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy, says the amount being smuggled in from Mexico is up - and it's higher in purity.

"At 14.8 percent we're at an all-time high in terms of the proportion of Iowans in substance abuse treatment saying meth is their number one drug of choice," says Woolery.

According to Woolery, some 64,000 grams of meth have been seized by law enforcement this year, the most in nearly a decade. There's also been a shift from traditional meth labs to what's called the "one pot" method, where the drug can be made in a pop bottle with relatively common ingredients.

Meth's powerful hook and devastating impact on users and families is especially stark when one looks at the courts and corrections. Woolery says more than half of Iowa's drug-related prison admissions last year involved meth. There were also more than 1,300 cases of child abuse stemming from what's called "drug endangerment."

"Drug endangerment can be a child that's in the presence of a meth lab," he says. "You have all sorts of dangers with toxins, not to mention potential violent acts."

This week marks Meth Awareness Week in Iowa.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA