Missouri is known as the meth capital of America, but recent Drug Enforcement Administration statistics suggest this may be changing. Missouri meth lab incidents decreased more than 12 percent in 2012, according the DEA.
Prevention Specialist, Heather Harlan, for Phoenix Programs—a drug treatment center in Columbia—said she has seen a decrease in meth users, but the reasons are not so clear.
“I can’t speak to that. My crystal ball is in the shop,” Harlan said. “But I would say in the prevention field, this really is nothing new because it’s sort of like the drug of the month.”
Harlan said the popularity of drugs, like meth, tend to fluctuate. Harlan said she is now seeing an increase in opiate use. Opiates come from the opium poppy plant.
Harlan said law enforcement is doing everything they can do to crack down on drug abuse, but there is only so much they can do. She also said the reason Missouri is such a hub for drugs, like meth and opiates, is its isolated nature.
Boone County Detective Tom O’Sullivan said he disagrees with the DEA statistics.
“It’s an ongoing battle. We certainly haven’t noticed any decrease in meth activity here in Boone County,” O’Sullivan said.
O’Sullivan said his team continues to make drug busts on a regular basis. He attributes the discrepancy in statistics to the size of Boone County. It is the 8th largest county in Missouri with a population of more than 150,000 people. O’Sullivan said as long as there are stupid people, there will be drug abusers.