Availability of illicit drugs depends on factors such as user preference and drug trafficking patterns in a particular region. A recent study shows that, while positivity rates for some illicit drugs have declined over the last five years, others have increased dramatically. One of these is methamphetamine.
The study, published by Millennium Health, involved analysis of urine drug test results from around the country starting in 2015. Doctors had collected the samples as part of patient care and submitted the results for analysis after removing any identifying information. The study showed that Arkansas not only follows the trend for increased methamphetamine positivity but has the highest positivity rate for methamphetamine in the country.
Where does methamphetamine come from?
Methamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant created in a laboratory, usually illicitly. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, the production and distribution of meth take place on a small scale in clandestine domestic laboratories. Federal legislation in 2005 made the precursor chemicals used to manufacture meth less accessible. Today, the primary manufacturers and distributors of methamphetamine in the United States are Mexican drug trafficking organizations.
What are the effects of taking meth?
In the short term, meth can cause increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and elevated body temperatures. Meth is extremely potent, so even a small amount can cause side effects such as these. In the long term, meth can cause severe dental problems, anorexia and memory loss, as well as psychosis, mood disturbances and insomnia.
Of the drug test results from Arkansas analyzed in the Millennium Health study, 28.7% of them were positive for methamphetamine. This was eight percentage points higher than Iowa, the state with the second-greatest positivity rate for methamphetamine.