Illinois rural areas are faced with a double down on drug addiction. The rest of the nation has turned their focus on opioids, Illinois is still struggling to combat the ongoing methamphetamine problem. According to a report from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, meth-related offenses more than tripled between 2010-2017 and the number of people in Illinois’ prisons rose by more than 67%. Admissions for addiction treatment for meth in Illinois also rose 5 times between 2000 and 2017.
In the current listening area, Pike County had one of the highest arrest records in the state for meth related offenses in 2017 – falling in the range of 164-569 arrests per 100,000 people. Morgan, Scott, Greene, and Schuyler counties all fell in the 84-164 arrests per 100,000 – which is still among some of the highest rates in the state. The demographic of those arrested are mostly rural based white males under the age of 39.
Overall lab seizures are down in the state despite the increased arrests according to the report. The drug also is easily available on the streets according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Despite the 2005 Federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act that reduced the availability of ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine, two key ingredients in making meth; conversion laboratories in the United States convert pure meth coming over the border from Mexico from powder or liquid into pill form, making the drug easily smuggled across the border. Mexican meth is also purer and cheaper to make and North America is the number one purchaser of the drug abroad.
Illinois drug enforcement not only has to continue fighting off opioids in the area, but it appears that the meth-related epidemic never went away.