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DDN: Meth makes deadly comeback in Dayton area

Excerpt from the Dayton Daily News

Crystal meth has made a deadly comeback in the region at a time when the opioid epidemic already is responsible for an alarmingly high body count.

Last year, methamphetamine appeared as a factor in the cause of death statements for 50 people in Montgomery County — more than triple the number from 2016, according to Montgomery County Coroner Kent Harshbarger.

“We have seen an increase in methamphetamine,” Harshbarger said.

Meth on its own is dangerous, but some users and dealers mix it with heroin or fentanyl to create a powerful but risky drug cocktail.

In the Midwest, more workers are testing positive for the drug, and some experts predict the crystal meth problem is going to get worse.

“Everything I hear is that it’s not getting better — it’s getting worse,” said Robert Carlson, a professor in the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University.

Methamphetamine use exploded in the 1990s and early 2000s, but then came a national crackdown on the drug.

State and federal laws put tough new restrictions on the sales of certain over-the-counter cold medicines that have pseudoephedrine, a main ingredient used to make the powerful stimulant.

Now in Ohio, retailers must check people’s IDs and run their information through a database to ensure they cannot purchase more than a certain “reasonable” amount of pseudoephedrine.

Retailers are required to keep products containing pseudoephedrine behind the counter or in locked display cases that customers cannot directly access.

But meth is seeing a resurgence.

Last month, an inmate reportedly brough meth into the Darke County Jail. A spill caused 14 corrections officers to become ill.

Earlier this month, a man at a Circle K gas station on East Fifth Street refused to leave the store and was blocking customers from leaving, a police report states.

Police arrived and found the man swaying back and forth in the store, struggling to keep upright. He also had trouble answering officers questions and told them he was coming down from a bad acid trip.

The man was taken to the hospital and security found a plastic bag containing what what 1.6 grams of suspected crystal meth.