It’s cheap, powerful and dangerous.

After declining for years, the popularity of methamphetamines is growing in the Garden State.

Susan Gibson, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency in New Jersey, said meth is expanding in New Jersey and the volumes of meth that cops are confiscating are increasing.

She said when the government enacted the Combating Methamphetamine Act in 2005, it restricted the sale of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, which are precursors for meth, and that decreased the clandestine labs that were found in the United States and all over New Jersey.

The number of meth labs in the country decreased from 15,000 to about a thousand. Today, most meth is produced in Mexico, she said.

“Right now the Mexican cartels are trying to develop a new population of users of meth and they’re trying to push the product and they’re actually giving samples out for free," Gibson said.

She explained that a $10 hit of meth can last up to 24 hours. It's also being used to get through drug sickness between heroin hits.

“It’s kind of a unique situation," she said. "The fact that the purity is so high and the cost is still low, where usually with coke and heroin if the purity is high the price is really high.”

Gibson said the meth being imported has purity levels that are off the charts.

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She pointed out meth sales and usage are increasing in the cities as well as the suburbs.

“There’s no geographic area, there’s no demographic — it’s hitting everywhere," she said.

In some cases, fentanyl is being added to meth, which makes it even more deadly.

She called the escalating meth situation in New Jersey dire.

“The high lasts for so long that a lot of heroin users are attracted to it. It’s just a very evil process on your body and to beat that addiction is very difficult.”

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You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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