Meth use is on the rise again, and it's getting deadlier

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is warning Americans that methamphetamine is fast becoming a major problem once again in American communities. Now, however, the already dangerous drug is frequently laced with a potentially lethal addition: fentanyl.

Much of the meth flowing in to parts of Illinois (along with Missouri and Kansas) isn't the home-grown variety that drug dealers used to have. In the last few years, meth has largely been moved into the area by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel in Mexico, and the cartel has figured out a way to produce a drug that is both stronger and cheaper than local operations can make in their home labs.

Recent travel restrictions cut down the availability of the imported drugs quite a bit -- and that put home meth labs back in business. To compete with the cartel, however, local drug suppliers have begun mixing fentanyl into their batches of meth. Fentanyl packs quite a punch, but it's also responsible for a lot of accidental drug overdoses. Drug addicts who are expecting a lower-quality version of meth from their local dealer may underestimate the potency of the laced drug.

That's not just a problem for the people who are buying drugs, either. It's a serious problem for anybody involved in the drug trade. Many states, including Illinois, have laws that allow prosecutors to charge drug dealers with murder if a customer dies from an overdose.

The tendency to prosecute dealers for overdose deaths doesn't just affect the typical drug dealer that people imagine in their minds. You can be charged with homicide over a drug overdose if you happen to share your stash of drugs with a spouse, friend or anyone. If you're charged with a drug crime, get experienced legal assistance right away.

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