Meth and cocaine are making a big comeback for drug users while opioids are fading. The feds have now allowed states to shift how the federal grant money they receive is used. Law enforcement has been noticing the shift for awhile now on which drugs are being used.
The little-noticed change is buried in a massive spending bill passed by Congress late last year. Pressed by constituents and state officials, lawmakers of both parties and the Trump administration agreed to broaden the scope of a $1.5 billion grant program previously restricted to the opioid crisis. Starting this year states can also use those federal dollars to counter addiction to “stimulants,” a term the government uses for methamphetamine and cocaine.
About 68,000 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2018, with opioids involved in about two-thirds of the cases. Opioids are a drug class that includes fentanyl, heroin, certain prescription painkillers, and various chemical combinations concocted for street sales. But the national numbers also hide dramatic differences in the deadliest drugs across the land.
Meth, which was once cooked in makeshift labs in the U.S., is now produced by Mexican cartels and smuggled across the border. The price of the drug has dropped even as its purity has risen.
States “are going to go ahead and apply for these grants, knowing they’ll have the flexibility to treat whatever the addiction is for people walking into their clinics,” said Reyna Taylor of the advocacy group National Council for Behavioral Health.