MODERN METH: The grip it has on Utah

Local News

UTAH (ABC4) – Meth is the most trafficked drug in Utah, according to the DEA. Officials say it is also considered the greatest threat to the state, based on the number of arrests and seizures. In recent years, it has become even more dangerous. 

Working as a warehouse manager Monday through Friday, a cook on the weekends, and DoorDash at night, Dave Elliot works about 70 hours a week. 

“If I’m sitting around, I’m coming up with some pretty bad ideas,” said Dave. 

Dave has struggled with addiction for years. It started with an injury. Then he started using opiates and heroin. 

“Which is the best opiate of all because it’s cheaper and more available,” said Dave. 

Then Dave moved to meth to help him handle withdrawal from heroin, but five years ago, something switched. 

“All of a sudden it happened… I knew what the euphoria was about and I didn’t waste my time with anything else but meth after that,” said Dave. 

Dave isn’t sure what caused the change, but it lines up with when the DEA started to see the makeup of meth change almost entirely to something called P2P. 

DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Jay Tinkler said more P2P started popping up when the U.S. began regulating the sale of ephedrine. Criminals went from cooking with Sudafed to working in sophisticated labs, using easy to get toxic chemicals.

“It’s cheaper than it’s ever been. It’s more pure than it’s ever been. And there’s more of it out there,” said Tinkler. 

Odyssey Intake Specialist, Jason Miller, said many of the meth users he sees are now using multiple times a day. That wasn’t always the case. Miller also reported seeing more severe psychosis in meth users and the reactions lasting longer. That psychosis can be extremely dangerous. 

“What will they do if they are psychotic and if they are unaware of their actions… What will they do to try to get more of that?” said Miller.

Miller can’t say with certainty if it is the actual makeup of P2P or that people are simply able to buy more of it than ever before. 

Once a person is hooked, it’s next to impossible to stop them, which is why both Tinkler and Miller say talking to your kids is so crucial.

“Let them know that they can talk to you about anything,” said Tinkler. 

Almost a year and a half sober, when Dave isn’t working, he’s thinking about how far he has come in the last 498 days. 

“I have gratitude for everything. I have gratitude for being trusted with a job. I have gratitude for my kids,” said Dave. 

Dave said he is grateful to be alive and being able to live in the moment. 

“I know the power that’s in this moment to make things right,” he adds.

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