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Latest news: 12-19-08

DEA: Methamphetamine, cocaine prices continue to soar

WASHINGTON, Dec 15, 2008 -- The prices of cocaine and methamphetamine in the United States have risen significantly over the past 21 months, while purity of the drugs has decreased, according to continued analysis of cocaine and methamphetamine seizures by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

From January 2007 to September 2008, the price per pure gram of cocaine increased 89 percent, from $96.61 to $182.73, while purity decreased 32.1 percent, from 67 to 46 percent. During the same timeframe, the price per pure gram of methamphetamine increased over 23 percent, from $148.91 to $184.09, while the purity decreased 8.3 percent, from 57 percent to 52 percent.

Full text at the DEA website

Drug ring broken up, nine people arrested

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - Nine people face federal charges related to a drug ring that authorities say distributed more than 100 pounds of methamphetamine in western Virginia. U.S. Attorney Julia Dudley said Friday that all but two of those indicted by a U.S. District Court grand jury have been arrested.

   They all face a maximum penalty of life in prison on charges that include conspiring to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. Maximum fines range up to $6.25 million. Several defendants face gun charges and additional drug counts. Investigators say more than 50 firearms were recovered.

Full story

Kalamazoo cops unearth stash in 'meth cave'

Kalamazoo, MI -- Kalamazoo drug-enforcement officers today raided what they've dubbed a "meth cave."

The 10-foot-by-10-foot hole was dug 5 feet deep into the side of a hill on Kalamazoo's east side. It was accessible through a narrow tunnel, authorities said. "We call it a meth cave," said Capt. Joseph Taylor of the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team. "It took many, many hours to build this cave ... This is the extreme they'll go to for meth."

Full story in the Kalamazoo Gazette

Meth Project ads come under fire; Governor wants to hear more

The Montana Meth Project's anti-drug ads have been getting plenty of media attention and government funding. There's only one problem; they may not be reducing meth use among the state's teens, and could even be making the drug more acceptable, according to a researcher who has conducted an analysis of the project's own survey data and press releases.

Meth use among Montana's teens was steadily declining since 1999, well before the program's 2005 introduction, and most of the state's youth already had a very negative view of meth use before MMP's launch, David Erceg-Hurn, a graduate student in psychology at the University of Western Australia in Crawley, told Reuters Health.

Meanwhile, Gov. Brian Schweitzer says he wants to hear more about the study as funding for the coming year is considered.

Full story, from Reuters

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