Meth more common than cocaine next door |

Meth more common than cocaine next door

Pete Fowler
Vail, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Data presented at the first public meeting of the Garfield County Methamphetamine Task Force showed the number of methamphetamine cases has overtaken the number of cocaine cases in the county.

“We’re seeing the barometric pressure rising with regards to meth and that a storm is coming,” Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cheney said.

About five years ago, Glenwood Springs Police were surprised when they saw meth, Chief Terry Wilson said. Now, they’re surprised to see many crimes that don’t involve it.

Michael Gizzi of Mesa State College presented some results of initial data collected from 244 felony drug cases, mostly from the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

The data showed 47 percent of the cases examined related to meth, 44 percent related to cocaine, 18 percent related to marijuana and 12 percent to other drugs.

But authorities know that many other crimes are tied to meth use in some way. The most common crimes associated with it were traffic violations, DUIs, thefts, burglaries and an increasing number of weapons charges.

“People will do anything to get their fix,” Gizzi said.

There’s a lot more cocaine in Garfield County than in Mesa County, Gizzi said, where 89 percent of the felony drug cases were meth cases.

The average meth user in Garfield County appears to be a poorly educated white male. Anglos were involved in 80 percent of meth cases while cocaine cases were 67 percent Hispanic, which was about double the number of Hispanics involved in the overall number of cases looked at.

Cheney said the task force wants to fight the problem before it becomes worse. The plan is to develop treatment and educatie the public about the dangers of meth. This could include things like having someone talking to students about craving meth almost daily years after quitting.

Members of the public will be invited to join the five task force committees that will make plans to fight meth.

It was also said that meth labs seem to have gone away. Limiting sales of pseudoephedrine-containing cold medications used to manufacture meth have seemed to cause more trafficking from Mexico. Gizzi said the country imports about 10 times the amount of ephedrine it could possibly use legitimately.

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