With Opioid Crisis Getting Attention, Authorities Stress Meth Still A Problem
MANKATO, MN - The opioid crisis has been making headlines across the country, but here locally, another drug continues to be a problem.
Assistant County Attorney for Blue Earth, Mike Hanson, said, "We see probably 100 meth cases for every one heroin case we're seeing. It's just... it's meth and it's not heroin, it's not the other opioids at least at this point."
Methamphetamines are making a comeback, thanks to efficient drug making factories in Mexico. They can make the drug cheaper and purer than ever. The days of meth lab busts in abandoned farmhouses are over.
Marnie Werner from the Center For Rural Policy and Development, said, "It's being funneled up and smuggled into the country and into the state and at the very low prices it's become a real problem again."
While it will be difficult to stop the wave of cheap drugs into the country, local law enforcement is trying alternatives to straight jail time. Blue Earth County calls their program, 'Drug Court'.
"Lower level crimes, we look at getting in early and getting treatment availability to the offenders to make sure that we can stop this behavior and not have it become something that's chronic,"Hanson said.
Still, there are a few reasons why opioids are getting more attention than meth.
"Opioids are a much bigger problem in the twin cities area than in greater Minnesota, and opioids are still a problem in greater Minnesota, meth just seems to be a bigger problem, but also opioids just kill people faster, but that doesn't mean that meth isn't a serious issue too," Werner said.