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Arkansas Among Top 10 States With Most Meth Arrests

The Arkansas Traveler, March 5, 2014

Since January, UAPD has arrested three people on charges of possession of a controlled substance after finding methamphetamine.

The most recent arrest in Fayetteville occurred Feb. 15. Two non-affiliates were arrested in the driveway of a private residence, police said. They were charged not only with possession of a controlled substance, but with purpose to deliver methamphetamine, simultaneous possession of drug and firearms, possession of firearms by certain persons and possession of drug paraphernalia. Had they not been arrested, a dangerous situation could have occurred, UAPD officials said.

“There are many, many meth arrests,” said Sgt. Ti Augustine, the DEA at the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. “We get substantial quantities often, and these meth arrests usually co-mingle with other types of arrests like property crimes and theft to fund their habit.”

Statistics tie methamphetamine to nearly 70 percent of property crimes.

Methamphetamine is second only to marijuana as the most widely abused illicit drug in the world, and it is the most prevalent synthetic drug manufactured in the United States, according to the World Health Organization.

Arkansas is among the 10 states with the most meth use and arrests, according to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. The state with the most is Nevada.

More than 50 people were arrested in “meth stings” in 2014. In Springdale, 21 people were arrested in connection with the same case.

After a recent survey was conducted in Arkansas, nearly 10 percent of Arkansas residents reported using the illicit drug in the past month, according to government statistics.

“Meth busts and arrests are increasing in this area,” said Sgt. Craig Stout, public information officer for the Fayetteville Police Department.

Arkansas is 17th in the nation for meth lab busts, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Most of the drugs are trafficked in.

Methamphetamine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol and is taken orally, by smoking, intranasal or needle injection. Even more, the drug increases activity, decreases appetite and causes a general sense of well-being.

“Meth is generally a clandestine drug made in vehicles, garages, homes and all over the place,” Augustine said. “There is a methamphetamine that is produced pharmaceutically, but the meth we deal with is a clandestine drug that is produced by amateur cooks, as we call them.”

Short-term effects of the drug include increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure and hyperthermia, according to UAPD.

Long-term meth abuse has many negative health consequences, which include extreme weight loss, severe dental problems, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances and violent behavior.

Chronic meth abusers often display psychotic features, including paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations and delusions. Methamphetamine is classified as a felony because of its high potential for abuse, said Lt. Anthony Foster, detention officer at Washington County Detention Center.

“The longer someone is on the drug, the more long-term damage it does,” Augustine said.

Adults between the ages of 18 and 34 use meth most, according to the FBI. Those enrolled in school use the drug less than those who aren’t, according to the NSDUH.

Less than 3 percent of young adults enrolled in college are addicted to methamphetamine, according to the NSDUH.

“Students who take the drug take it thinking they’ll stay up to study,” Augustine said. “They’ll stay up for awhile then have a horrible crash when coming down.”

Adderall is a type of amphetamine similar to meth.

The university in the Southeastern Conference with the most methamphetamine arrests is the University of Missouri. Missouri is the state with the most methamphetamine arrests, lab busts and deaths in the nation.