As meth flows into Denver, arrests are up and so are requests for treatment

Methamphetamine addiction is at an all time high in Denver as cheap and potent meth from Mexico floods the city, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Police arrest three individuals on the Cherry Creek Trail. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)police; cherry creek trail; denver; kevinjbeaty; colorado; denverite; crime;

Methamphetamine addiction is at an all time high in Denver as cheap and potent meth from Mexico floods the city, Colorado Public Radio reported.

In 2015, possession-related arrests on the border between the U.S. and Mexico rose 36 percent, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That’s because Mexican cook operations have overcome production challenges and are producing more meth, more quickly than ever before.

Across the United States, domestic manufacturing of methamphetamine has dropped since its peak in 2004, according to a report by the International Narcotics Control Board.

“We’re seeing very high-quality methamphetamine flood the U.S. market at the highest quantity we’ve ever seen, the highest quality we’ve ever seen, and unfortunately the lowest prices that we’ve ever seen,” said Laura Duffy, the U.S. Attorney for the southern district of California.

For Denver, this means more addicts, more possession arrests and fewer home cook busts.

In 2015, a total of 637 meth possession arrests were made, up 329 percent since 2015.

“It’s quite sad because the bottom line is all of these people are addicted,” Denver Police Lieutenant Ernie Martinez told CPR. “They need help and there isn’t enough help for them.”

The numbers of those seeking treatment for methamphetamine addiction have increased three-fold since 2009. According to Arapahoe House, Colorado’s largest treatment center, 1,890 sought treatment for meth in fiscal year 2016 compared to 617 in 2009.

And treating meth is tough. Whereas heroin has methadone, Buprenorphine or Vivitrol, there is no catch-all treatment for meth addiction.

In the past, police targeted cook operations to reduce the local meth supply. For lack of a better solution, Martinez said, they now focus on busting local distributors.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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