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Indiana Officials Call Meth Emerging Drug Crisis

Justin Hicks/WVPE

Meth – this is the drug the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse says needs more attention.

The commission met Thursday to discuss the emerging drug, in a shift that comes after years of statewide focus on the opioid epidemic. A recent preliminary Centers for Disease Control report shows promising signs that the opioid epidemic may be slowing.

Officials warn that meth continues to be a statewide problem. Since 2015, charges for possession of meth has grown 170 percent according to data from the Indiana Prosecutor Case Management system. Although in most recent 2018 data, these numbers appeared to have leveled off. 

“Meth has certainly not gone away, never did go away,” says David Powell, Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council executive director. “It is a serious problem and I think we’ll show you some numbers that should alarm everyone in the room, certainly alarms me.” 

Indiana had more meth possession charges in the first seven months of 2019, than in all of 2016 combined. 

Changes to state law reduced the number of meth labs in Indiana, but the price of the drug has dropped as it’s smuggled into the U.S, Indiana State Police's Taylor Shafer told the commission. Police have reported seeing an influx of drugs from the southern border. 

Shafer says finding large amounts of meth – in the dozens of pounds – is much more common than in previous years. 

Representatives from the Indiana Department of Education, Family and Social Services Administration and Department of Corrections all presented how each administration is addressing the rise in meth.