Meth Remains A Big Problem In Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Despite the ongoing opioid crisis impacting communities across Tennessee, experts said the problem of meth remains in the picture.

Michael Reynolds, a regional substance abuse coordinator with Centerstone, believes meth is making a resurgence.

"Meth never really went away. There is definitely more methamphetamine being used in Tennessee," said Reynolds.

Centerstone is an organization dedicated to providing mental health and substance abuse treatment, education, and support in multiple states, including Tennessee.

"Usually somewhere in their list of things they use pretty regularly is still methamphetamine," added Reynolds.

Earlier this week, authorities in Montgomery County busted two people for allegedly carrying 54 pounds of crystal meth with a street value of $2 million.

Reynolds said meth was considered an epidemic more than a decade ago. It reached its peak in 2013 when 213 meth labs were found in just one month. That was seven labs per day.

Through programs and law enforcement initiatives, there was a drop in meth labs in the state, but meth use has gone up, according to the Tennessee Dangerous Drug Task Force.

"Law enforcement especially has done a spectacular job in combating the epidemic and reducing the access to certain components in the manufacturing of meth," stated Reynolds.

The drug task force also stated that meth incidents reported by officers have jumped 80 percent.

"Cartels are shipping in product to our urban areas, and it's going out from there," said Reynolds.

A state report showed more young adults and rural communities are using methamphetamine.

Mental health officials reported about 2,500 people sought treatment for meth addiction in 2016, a gradual increase since 2011.

However, the number only reflects state-run services.

For Reynolds, he continues to work to expand the organization's addiction services. It's a tough job as the drug crisis sees no end in sight.

People are continuing to mix their use of methamphetamine with other depressants to suppress their signs of addiction.

"For some people, they want to try and live normal lives and hide the fact that they are on meth, so they will manage some of their symptoms by using other drugs," added Reynolds.

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