Methamphetamine is becoming an increasing problem in San Diego County, and Escondido is no exception.
“That particular drug is on the rise and is becoming something that we are seeing both in larger quantity and in greater frequency throughout the county at large,” said Gregory Kogler, a lieutenant with the Escondido Police Department.
Kogler also oversees the special investigations division, which covers narcotics.
According to a study based on drug testing of people booked into jail, meth users are currently evenly split between males and females.
“What is also interesting is, according to the study, meth is also at a fifteen-year high for adult females,” said Kogler.
He said Escondido meth rates are consistent with the rest of the county. Use also tends to be roughly evenly split among age groups.
Despite San Diego’s former distinction as the meth capital of the world, today the metropolitan area sees very little manufacturing because most of the county’s meth comes from Mexico.
“The drug trafficking organizations down there have these labs – they’re called super labs,” said Kogler. “They are able to produce and manufacture a large volume of very high quality methamphetamine.”
The high quality – and quantity – drug has meant three things.
“It has taken a product and increased the amount of availability, it’s lowered the cost of the product, and it’s increased the purity,” Kogler said. “So I suspect that over time what we see is going to be an increase in people who are both using and the frequency of use and in severity of the symptoms that you see associated with use.”
Kogler said there’s a lot of discussion right now among the public health partners: public safety, law enforcement, mental health providers.
“There’s a lot of stakeholders involved in having significant conversations about what do we do with the anticipation that this problem is likely to continue and more likely get worse as the years go by,” he said.
For more information, visit www.sandag.org and read the report Methamphetamine Use by San Diego County Arrestees.