Drug use has become a major problem throughout the United States, with an epidemic of fentanyl, pain pills, and even heroin sweeping the country. Many people have become addicted to opioids, and an Albany drug crime lawyer can provide representation to those suffering from addiction who are faced with criminal charges.

Officials have tried with varying degrees of success to find ways to deal with the opioid epidemic, but even as abuse of pain pills and fentanyl remains a big public health and safety issue, officials are warning of the next phase of the drug epidemic: crystal meth.

Crystal Meth Could Become the Next Phase of the Drug Epidemic

According to 12 News Now, crystal meth isn’t getting as much attention as the heroin and opioid crises sweeping the country but increasing use of crystal meth has helped to increase the death toll from drug overdoses nationwide.

Crystal meth has long been a popular narcotic because it provides a big energy boost and gets users high very quickly.  Crystal meth is also popular because it is a drug that many people can make at home using simple ingredients that are readily available at drug stores.

When it reached its peak popularity around a decade ago, local meth labs were routinely discovered by law enforcement officials. Unfortunately, in many circumstances, labs were found when police responded to fires or explosions at homes where people were cooking meth.

However, officials warn that meth today is not typically made in local labs but has become less expensive and easier for people to obtain. Unfortunately, the new strains of crystal meth that are becoming more popular are also proving to be more dangerous than the meth people were making and using when meth was so common in the past.

Today’s version of crystal meth is much more pure. Often called “ice,” modern crystal meth often has close to 100 percent purity while meth that used to be made in local labs and sold was only around 50 percent pure. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is warning that this new purer form of meth is far more likely to result in overdoses and fatal reactions.

While methamphetamine never really went away, it faded from public attention for a long while as other drugs such as heroin and fentanyl and pain pills increasingly became popular and their use became more widespread.

However, officials are now warning that an increasing number of people are turning to meth again, leading to hundreds of overdoses and a significant increase in meth related deaths compared with past years. In fact, a nationwide federal study spanning 31 states and Washington D.C. found that the death toll related to meth and other stimulants rose by around a third over the course of a single year.  In just 2016 alone, more than 7,500 people lost their lives to overdoses of stimulant drugs including crystal meth.

If you are accused of involvement with crystal meth, it is important you contact an Albany drug crime lawyer for help protecting your rights – especially as law enforcement officials may be looking to crack down on meth users in light of concerns about the rising death toll.