The situation: Methamphetamine remains a serious
drug threat in Georgia -- both in terms of a trafficked
drug distributed from Atlanta and as a home-cooked
product consumed in the state. Additionally, high school
students are trying meth at a rate slightly higher than the
national average (see graphic, right, and chart below).
“The cost to Georgia is $1.3 billion a year in everything
from lost productivity to healthcare , foster care, all kinds
of things,” says James Langford, executive director of
the Georgia Meth Project
Meth in Georgia
-- The number of clandestine meth labs uncovered by law enforcement in Georgia has begun to spike upward after several years in decline. Number of lab interdictions (source: Drug Enforcement Administration):
Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Labs 294 315 161 68 85 125 152
-- Younger high school students appear to be trying methamphetamine at a rate higher than their senior counterparts. Percentage of high schoolers at each grade level who said they have tried meth at least once in their life (source: Centers for Disease Control):
Grade level 9th 10th 11th 12th
Pct. using meth 4.8% 4.6% 4.1% 3.9%
Speaking of meth
"The increasing availability of Mexican ice methamphetamine coupled with increasing local methamphetamine production pose significant drug threats to the Atlanta region. The amount of methamphetamine seized by Atlanta HIDTA initiatives increased 517 percent from 2008 to 2009."
-- From DEA's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area 2010 drug threat report.
"We know exactly where our population is coming from. We've taken in 250 to 300 meth-related criminals each month, almost 3,000 a year. Ninety-seven percent of them are white, by the way ... That's really crowding us in our jails."
-- Department of Corrections Commissioner James Donald
“Atlanta is the hottest place for [crystal meth] right now. I know that our rate of use is about four times higher than the national average. We’ve got some of the biggest seizures in the nation taking place in the metro Atlanta area right now.”
-- Jesse Hambrick, Douglas County Sheriff’s Drug and Gang Prevention specialist and director of the Douglas County Meth Task Force.