State and federal policies aimed at reducing methamphetamine production in the United States are working. The Los Angles Times reports that the number of “superlabs” discovered by authorities has dropped significantly this year. Unfortunately, this does not mean that Americans now have a harder time getting meth; according to the Times, “most of the supply [of meth used in the United States] is smuggled in from Mexico.” This means that we need new strategies in meth prevention.
Making meth hard to find will certainly cut use. However, labs in Mexico produce 20 times more meth in a single day than the biggest American labs. Moreover, Mexican law enforcement is, the Times says, “ill-prepared to open another front against methamphetamine production.” Thus, attacking the source of meth may no longer be plausible. Instead, we need to remove the demand; without meth users, meth production will not be a problem. This means we must work hard to educate the public about the disastrous effects of using meth. Knowing that crack drug destroys lives has reduced the number of crack users. Meth is just as destructive; the challenge is to publicize just how harmful it can be.
The U.S. Department of Justice has taken a step in the right direction by designating November 30th National Methamphetamine Awareness Day. The goal is to encourage education and activities nationwide to highlight the ruinous effects of methamphetamine abuse. This is a good step, and it should be extended. Prevention practitioners should highlight meth awareness in their anti-drug messages and add anti-meth publications to the materials they give out. Adults should talk to children and to one another about the effects of meth abuse. Through education, meth abuse can be beaten.