(NewsNation) — A new kind of methamphetamine called “super meth” is cheaper and more potent to users, raising concerns among experts.
What is ‘super meth’?
Super meth is a methamphetamine produced in Mexican drug labs with a unique construction. The drug is 93% pure, and the high produced from it can last 24 hours. Mexican drug cartels are mass producing this substance with cheaper ingredients, making production costs low. The result is a much more potent drug, which treatment specialists say users are struggling to kick.
Sam Quinones, a veteran journalist who has chronicled America’s opioid and meth crisis, called it “the most potent form of methamphetamine we have ever seen in our history,” saying it is “more than the human brain can handle.”
Where is it coming from?
Unlike previous forms of meth, super meth’s essential chemical is a liquid called phenyl-2-propanone, or P2P. Using P2P offers traffickers a huge advantage, as the chemicals needed to create it are used in several industries including tanning, gold mining and photography, according to Quinones.
“It is impossible to say how many methods of making P2P a creative chemist might come up with,” said Quinones.
Drugs made in a lab are not subject to season or soil, only to chemical availability. This makes production of P2P effectively limitless, as the necessary chemicals are already circulating markets in high quantities.
Where is it now?
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been warning Americans about this highly potent form of meth for many years, after seizures began ramping up and cutting super meth with fentanyl became more common.
Fentanyl has been in the spotlight of America’s opioid crisis because of its prevalence, and is now being reportedly mixed with methamphetamines.
Now, along with widespread fentanyl distribution, super meth is also making a presence in big cities across the country. Tucson, Arizona, Atlanta and Philadelphia have all seen spikes in overdose deaths attributed to super meth.
Tucson police Captain John Leavitt who runs the Counter Narcotics Alliance says, “It’s cheap enough where people are going to max out and eventually overdose and die no matter what form it comes in.”