Drug experts are warning methamphetamine use is on the rise in New Jersey.

According to Angelo Valente, the executive director of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, the drug, which is also referred to as meth, crystal meth, crank and speed is now showing up in cities, the suburbs and even rural areas.

“What we’re seeing is in New Jersey there is a resurgence of the use of meth, unlike what we’ve seen in the past. Meth for the most part was utilized in the Midwest and the West, but now meth is widely available and widely being used throughout the state of New Jersey,” Valente said.

A powerful high, then a major crash

The drug is a powerful stimulant that provides a feeling of euphoria but when it wears off users “crash” and it is frequently mixed with toxic chemicals and harmful ingredients that can cause a variety of physical and mental damage.

High drug addict lies unconscious after injection, syringe in hand, overdose

“It’s something that is extremely addictive so we are extremely concerned that this is becoming so widely used in the state,” said Valente.

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He said meth has traditionally been smoked, snorted or injected but now it's available in pill form.

"So it’s much easier for people to become familiar with it, use it, and become dependent on it and addicted," Valente said.

Even more dangerous than before

Similar to other drugs on the street, fentanyl is also making its way into meth.

“There are some meth pills that are being laced with fentanyl, and we all know only a small amount of fentanyl can cause immediate death,” Valente said.

In the past, supplies of the drug came from local meth “labs” in private homes all over New Jersey, but Valente said that is no longer the case.

“What we’re finding is most of the meth that’s coming into the state is coming from Mexican super-labs, so it’s flooding the market. It’s an inexpensive drug.”

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mexican cartels, to encourage a new population of users, have been giving out free samples of the drug, which can cost about $10 for a high that can last 24 hours.

Rotting teeth

Valente said meth users frequently exhibit personality changes, where they no longer seem like themselves, as well as physical changes.

"Decaying of teeth is one of the signs.”

He stressed if your child, a friend or loved one gets hooked on meth, it’s vitally important to get them professional help as soon as possible. For more on where to find help, the New Jersey Department of Human Services runs a website listing a number of resources for those in need.

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