As communities struggle to address the rising popularity of heroin and other opioid narcotics, attention has shifted away from another drug with a nationwide grip. But the popularity of methamphetamine does not seem to be waning.
Figures from law enforcement and addiction treatment specialists in North Dakota and Minnesota show that meth remains the most commonly used hard drug in the region, with popularity levels surpassing those seen in the early 2000s.
In 2016, North Dakota recorded 1,955 meth-related arrest incidents, up from 1,640 in 2015, which was up from 1,248 in 2014, according to data from the Attorney General’s Office. Meth incidents in the state have risen each year since 2012, when just 434 incidents were reported.
The Grand Forks Police Department counted 39 meth- or amphetamine-related incidents in 2016, while the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office recorded 23, according to state data. By comparison, Grand Forks Police recorded 12 heroin incidents in 2016, while Sheriff’s deputies had two.
Numbers are on the rise across the Red River, too.
Minnesota has experienced a 489 percent increase from 2009 to 2016 in meth seizures, according to the Department of Public Safety.
2009 marked a low point in levels for people seeking treatment, arrests and seizures for methamphetamine in both North Dakota and Minnesota, but numbers have dramatically increased since then.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced the seizure of 487.7 pounds of meth in 2016, more than double the 230.3 pounds seized in 2015. In 2012, just 112.6 pounds of meth were confiscated by law enforcement in Minnesota.
North Dakota was among the first states to pass laws aiming to limit sales of ammonia, medications and other substances used to cook meth