Drug Enforcement Administration

New Jersey

Susan A. Gibson, Special Agent in Charge

February 01, 2019

Contact: Timothy P. McMahon

Phone Number: (973) 776-1143

Meth on the rise in New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – In August 2018, the DEA Intelligence Program, in conjunction with the NY/NJ High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program and the NJ State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center’s Drug Monitoring Initiative assessed the methamphetamine drug threat in New Jersey. The results of the program show that state law enforcement trends show an evolving methamphetamine threat concentrated in the southern region of New Jersey. The vast majority of methamphetamine distributed in New Jersey originates in Mexico and has a very high purity level.

Methamphetamine is commonly being found in the southern and far western parts of New Jersey, and it is still considered the drug of choice in some of the more rural areas of the state. Some recent analysis from the DEA’s Northeast Regional Lab has found some purity levels as high as 99 percent. This high purity level is indicative of large-scale labs in Mexico, where the Sinaloa Cartel are attempting to expand their market for crystal methamphetamine in the southern part of the state. From 2015 to 2017, the DEA Northeast Regional Lab has seen a 5,657 percent increase in the total weight of methamphetamine exhibits analyzed from 4,468 grams in 2015 to 257,206 grams in 2017.

Methamphetamine is a Schedule II substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse, minimal medical use, and can lead to serious psychological and physical dependence. It is a central nervous system stimulant that produces long lasting effects including heightened senses of alertness and euphoria as well as increases in heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and body temperature. Some side effects from long term abuse can include agitation, tremors, hypertension, memory loss, hallucinations, psychotic episodes, paranoid delusions, and violent behavior. It can come in pill, powder, liquid, and crystal form also known as “ice” due to large ice-like crystals.

“Over the last several years much emphasis has been placed on the opioid epidemic,” said Special Agent in Charge Valerie A. Nickerson. “We are also taking this methamphetamine threat seriously. DEA and our law enforcement partners, particularly in southern New Jersey, will continue to investigate those people and drug organizations who choose to put this drug on our streets.”

One of the explanations for the rise in methamphetamine use is because it has become a popular substance to help combat heroin withdrawal symptoms. Methamphetamine is readily available, inexpensive, and provides the user with a high that can last more than 24 hours. These factors appeal to heroin users who are seeking relief from withdrawal symptoms and functioning heroin users who need to get through the work week without yielding to withdrawal symptoms. 

Another factor that makes methamphetamine appealing is the low price. Typically, a drug with a high purity results in a high price. The opposite is true for methamphetamine.  Since 2009, as the purity of the drug has risen the price has continued to drop.

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